After losing its first game of the year to Wahpeton Friday, the Valley City High School boys basketball team was determined to come out strong in the opening game of the Barnes County Tournament Tuesday at W.E. Osmon Fieldhouse.
The Vikings did just that, beating Griggs County Central 66-40 in the opening game of the tournament.
“We came out defensively and were aggressive and that’s what we wanted to do,” coach Scott Hurlimann said. “They had eight points at halftime, three after the first quarter, they had 17 at the end of the third quarter. That’s a great defensive effort, just like we did on Friday, but today we hit a few more shots and made some free throws.”
It was a game in which the Hi-Liners played well from nearly the opening tip, allowing a free throw from the Cougars 20 seconds in before holding them scoreless for the next seven minutes.
In those seven minutes, the Hi-Liners went on run of their own, getting a layup from Jarod Nelson to start the scoring, and contributions from Mason Denholm, Jared Lentz and Chase Carpenter got the Hi-Liners up to a 15-1 lead.
Carpenter, who is known for his ability to hit shots both inside the post and outside the arc, also showed his ability to pass out of double-team situations, finishing the half with a team-high three assists.
The team seemed to drop shots wherever they felt like, ending the first quarter with a shot only feet from midcourt to go up 20-3.
The scoring didn’t stop as VCHS finished the half up 38-8, which included a double double for Carpenter, who had 13 points and 10 rebounds by halftime. Carpenter finished the game with 29 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists and a block.
On the other end of the court, the Hi-Liners got hands in faces, limiting Griggs to 3-21 shooting in the first half and 24 percent shooting in the game.
The majority of Griggs’ offense came in the fourth quarter, when the Cougars scored 23 points after scoring 17 in the first three quarters combined.
The Hi-Liners also dominated the boards, finishing the game with 44 rebounds, including 12 offensively.
Riley Nelson led the Cougars with 10 points.
With the win, the Hi-Liners advance to the championship bracket semifinals, where they’ll matchup with Milnor Thursday. Hurlimann expects the game to be tougher for the Hi-Liners.
“They’re a tough team and we’ve got to be ready to play the same type of defense and we’ve got to be able to score a bit better," Hurlimann said. “It’s going to be a challenge.”