Vikings win to reach .500 mark

They started the season 0-3, then 1-5, and were 4-9 not very long ago.

But West Vigo’s Vikings are now at the .500 mark for the first time this season, after a 62-49 win at Cloverdale on Tuesday that wasn’t really that close, and they’d like to do even more than that.

“In a [preseason] scrimmage three months ago, [the Clovers] kicked our tail,” coach Joe Boehler of the Vikings said after the game. “Tonight was a testament to how much we’ve improved since then.”

“They’re playing very well,” coach Patrick Rady of the Clovers said of the Vikings. “For what’s happened from the beginning of the season to the end, [Boehler] should be up for a Coach of the Year award.

“[The Vikings are] better defensively, their bigs do a good job of sealing and their guards do a good job getting downhill,” Rady continued in presenting evidence to support his coaching counterpart’s credentials. “And when they get a lead, they can spread you out.”

It was actually the Clovers who had the lead early.

Walker Sims had eight first-quarter points, Kyle Thomas opened the game with a 3-pointer and the home team, after celebrating its Senior Night, got an 8-2 lead.

West Vigo created the game’s first tie at 11-11 on a layup by Case Lautenschlager with 2:56 left in the first quarter, and after a trade of baskets Lautenschlager scored twice more to put the visitors ahead to stay at 17-13.

Cloverdale’s Nolan Kelley closed out the first quarter with a 3-pointer, then answered a West Vigo basket early in the second period to keep the Clovers within 19-18. Then Zeke Tanoos, Lautenschlager and Imare Holman hit consecutive 3-pointers for a 10-point Viking lead and Cloverdale was in catch-up mode the rest of the way.

It was 38-25 at halftime, and West Vigo had three 21-point leads in the third quarter, the last at 53-32. Cloverdale played better down the stretch, but the final margin was as close as the Clovers got.

Gabe Newhouse led West Vigo with 18 points and eight rebounds while Lautenschlager added 15 points with seven rebounds and five assists, the continually maturing Tanoos scored 14 and Holman added 13. When the Vikings got in first-half foul trouble, Ethan Kesler came off the bench and was actually the game’s leading rebounder at halftime (he’s listed at 5-foot-7).

Nolan Kelley had 18 points for the Clovers, but Kyle Thomas was held to 13 — he did have five assists — and Sims scored 11.

“West Vigo had a lot to do with taking us out of what we wanted to do,” Rady said. “They did a good job taking the ball out of Kyle’s hands and making the other guys have to beat them.”

“I couldn’t be more proud of how [the Vikings] are playing,” Boehler said. “We stumbled out of the gate early, but our schedule was tough up front.

“We’re getting better as the season progresses,” he added, “and we’re pretty close to where we want to be right now.”

WEST VIGO (62) — Lautenschlager 5-11 4-4 15, Tanoos 6-8 1-2 14, Newhouse 6-11 6-6 18, Bunch 1-4 0-0 2, Holman 4-7 2-2 13, Kesler 0-2 0-0 0, Beaver 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-43 FG, 13-14 FT, 62 TP.

CLOVERDALE (49) — K.Thomas 5-12 1-2 13, Sims 4-11 0-0 11, Gill 1-6 0-0 2, N.Kelley 7-16 3-3 18, Ashcraft 1-3 1-2 3, Z.Thomas 1-2 0-0 2, Firkins 0-0 0-0 0, E.Kelley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-50 FG, 5-7 FT, 49 TP.

West Vigo 17 21 17 7 — 62

Cloverdale 16 9 12 12 — 49

3-point shooting — WV 5-10 (Holman 3-4, Tanoos 1-1, Lautenschlager 1-2, Newhouse 0-1, Bunch 0-1, Kesler 0-1), Cloverdale 6-15 (Sims 3-7, K.Thomas 2-4, N.Kelley 1-3, Z,Thomas 0-1). Total fouls — WV 13, Cloverdale 14. Fouled out — none. Turnovers — WV 10, Cloverdale 12. Rebounds — WV 29 (Newhouse 8, Lautenschlager 7, Kesler 6, Tanoos 3, Holman 3, Team 2), Cloverdale 26 (Sims 8, N.Kelley 6, Gill 5, Ashcraft 4, K.Thomas, Z.Thomas, Team 1). Assists — WV 13 (Lautenschlager 5, Kesler 3, Tanoos 2, Newhouse, Bunch, Holman), Cloverdale 8 (K.Thomas 5, Ashcraft 2, Sims). Steals — WV 7 (Bunch 3, Newhouse 2, Holman, Kesler), Cloverdale 7 (Gill 2, N.Kelley 2, Sims, Ashcraft, Z.Thomas). Blocks — WV 3 (Newhouse 2, Holman), Cloverdale 2 (N.Kelley, Ashcraft).

JV — West Vigo 55 (Grayson Porter 19, Connor Martin 10), Cloverdale 26 (Chance Girt 7).

Next — West Vigo (10-10, 5-5 Western Indiana Conference) hosts Fountain Central on Thursday. Cloverdale (9-12, 3-6) plays Parke Heritage next Tuesday in the Class 2A Cloverdale Sectional.

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