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The Petersburg High School Vikings started their 2018-19 season with a win over larger rival Hampshire High School.
For their first game of the season, the Trojans traveled to Petersburg to face the Vikings on their home court.
The game was a close fight, with the Trojans making a fourth period comeback that almost unseated the Vikings. In the end, the Vikings managed to hold on to their lead by only two points, ending the game 56-54.
The first period saw the Vikings picking up a two point lead, 10-8.
For the next two periods the Trojans struggled to hold down the PHS offense, with the Vikings’ big returning scorers, Kahner Turner, Hunter Pool and Peyton Sindledecker grabbing points over their opponents at every turn.
The second period ended with an even wider Viking lead, 31-22 and a 10 point trail by the third period, 43-33.
However, in the fourth period the Trojans picked up their pace, picking up more than 20 points in the single period of the game. The push strained the Vikings’ defense but still left an the Viking offense on par, who picked up 13 points of their own in the period.
Overall, the Trojans fell short and the Vikings grabbed a 56-54 win.
The game was an interested highlight for what fans may see in the upcoming season.
With the leadership of returning coach Todd Heare, who has proven his ability in directing the team to winning seasons and a line-up of tall and aggressive players, the team is likely to see a good season - even against teams they have struggled with in past seasons.
In their opening game, Pool picked up 13 points for PHS, Sindledecker scored 12 and Turner grabbed 11.
Other important scorers in the game were Dalton Lough with six points, Nathan Park with five and Matt VanMeter with nine.
The Vikings play their next game tonight at 6 p.m. in Petersburg against the Frankfort Falcons before traveling later this week to a mixer tournament.
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After a previous season of growth, including the implementation of a new system on both sides of the ball, the Petersburg High School Lady Vikings are back on the court and making plans to see a competitive 2018 season. The team is also seeing seven returning players that were key players last year including impressive offensive potential.
Coach Jon Webster pointed to several players who will likely be key players in the upcoming season.
Senior Casey Watts, who was the Vikings’ leading scorer and rebounder last year. Webster said he pointed to Watts as a strong offensive player, saying she has worked on her offensive game in the offseason and is looking to be a strong post presence.
Sophomore Jenna Burgess became an important player in last year’s late season. “She finished the season as one of our most efficient players,” Webster said. Another young but strong player is sophomore Kayla Lantz.
Lantz also was an important late-season defensive player last year and proved to be one of the team’s most consistent outside shooters and one of the team’s best on-ball defenders.
Senior Reece Hedrick remains an all-around talented athlete for multiple Viking teams. Just off an impressive season in volleyball, Hedrick was a steady scorer and a rebounder last year that will likely take that post back this season.
Another strong returning defensive player on the team is sophomore Carley Turner.
Turner has done well in a guard position in the past and has shown a lot of skill in applying heavy defensive pressure. However, Webster said fans will likely see a strong offense from Turner this year, saying she has really improved her outside shot as well as her ability to get to the basket.
Overall, the team is likely to see a strong improvement over last year now that growing pains seem to have been worked out, as evidenced by the competitive season end the team put together previously.
“We currently have a variety of players in a variety of grades that can help this team succeed,” Webster said. “We are going to try to involve a lot of people and play the game fast. We look for our defense to help lead into our offense. I anticipate to see this team play together and share the basketball. I believe we have continued to build from where we left off last season and I look forward to continue to see us improve. We have a mix of guards and post players that is going to allow us to play many different styles and force teams to adapt to the ways we want to play.”