Missing final piece

Vikings fall to Montini in Supersectional

Junior+Aireal+Dickson+defends+an+inbound+pass+against+Marist.+

Langston McHenry

Junior Aireal Dickson defends an inbound pass against Marist.

Langston McHenry, Editor-in-chief

The buzzer sounded and the screams of triumph erupted. Only, they were not from the Vikings.

“It was very important because it’s our senior year and as a team we worked hard all year and we didn’t want to end the playoffs on a loss,” senior Karli Seay said. “We wanted to go all the way to get that ring.”

With a 35-39 loss to No. 1 Montini in the Supersectional game, the Vikings State championship hopes ended.

“It was very emotional, mainly because we went down state two years ago and it was a great experience,” senior Michelle Pruitt said.

With Montini being undefeated and having a balanced offensive attack, head coach Anthony Smith made sure to have a specific game plan.

“The game plan was to limit their three point shooting and defend them well,” Smith said. “The biggest thing was limiting their offensive productivity.”

Both teams succeeded in slowing one another’s offense down, causing the game to be played at a very slow pace. The Vikings averaged 54 points per game as a team.

“I think being able to put the ball in the hole, make some free throws, and scoring in general was an issue for us [Monday night],” Smith said. “If you told me we were going to hold them to 20 something points in four quarters, I would think we were going to win that game, but it didn’t end that way.”

This is the second year in a row that the team has fallen in the Supersectional game; last year losing to Whitney Young in a 74-76 overtime loss.

“I was shocked when we lost, but I realized that we had to look past the game and take it as a lesson to get better in some of our weaknesses,” Pruitt said.

Even though they fell short of their ultimate goal, it was not because of a lack of work of leadership. Seay and senior Nadia Green averaged 15 and 14 ppg. respectively during the playoffs.

“The teams we played were more aggressive than the regular season, so I just had to be ready,” Seay said.

The Vikings finished the season with a record of 23-3, with all losses coming to national opponents. They also have three seniors playing D-1 basketball next year in Green (Missouri), Finess Dickson (Memphis) and Eva Rubin (Arizona State).

“I think those three kids are going to do well. I think they know what it takes and they are going to help those institutions do well,” Smith said. “This will not be the last that you hear those three and they will be making H-F proud for years to come.”

Smith says the team will be back competing next year for a State championship although they are losing seven seniors.

“Losing all seven seniors is big, but we have standards and those don’t change,” Smith said. “We’re planning on winning a State title again next year. That’s what we do.”