KINGSBURG — After struggling at the Tulare Holiday Classic tournament, the Kingsburg boys basketball team bounced back at home in a 70-63 win over Reedley on Dec. 19.
Heading into the game Kingsburg (7-7) and Reedley (5-5) were both .500 with tough games ahead for both squads.
Vikings’ head coach Todd Brown said the win was “really big” for his team, who improved to 8-7 overall.
“We've got to get wins whenever we can,” Brown said. “We were talking about before the game how the only thing that matters is this game and winning this game, and not looking into the future.”
For Kingsburg, the team had three players that scored double-digits including Jeremy Ray (25 points), Ryan Flippo (18) and Kaleb Hernandez (13).
“Those guys are seniors, they put the hours in the gym,” Brown said. “Flippo was in here [Tuesday] at 6:30 shooting, Jeremy is always in here on Sundays shooting. They’re getting their reps in and they understand that’s what it takes to get it done here.”
Throughout the game, both teams kept it close as the largest lead of the game didn’t happen until the fourth quarter when Kingsburg went ahead on a 62-56 lead with 1:29 to play. Hernandez hit the go-ahead three-pointer for the Vikings lead.
The fourth quarter was the highest scoring total from both teams, as Kingsburg scored 30 points and Reedley scored 22.
In the third quarter, Ray was instrumental for the Vikings as the senior hit back-to-back three-pointers to tie the game at 40 with 1:44 to go. The guard made three shots from behind the arc and had a total of 11 points in the third period.
Before the win against Reedley, Kingsburg lost its first three games at the Tulare tournament and were outscored by an average of 26.3 to opponents, but won its final game in the tourney against Lindsay 72-70.
Since the Vikings’ Lions Club tournament in early December, the team has been riddled with injuries including starting senior Bryce Whiteside, who suffered a high ankle sprain during the team’s game against Hanford West on Dec. 7 and has been out since.
“He’s a big part of our team,” Brown said. “[We’re] getting some guys back in the groove and it’s learning to play together again. We’ve just been putting so many groups out there the past couple of weeks with all the injuries.”
After Kingsburg’s road match against El Capitan High School, the Vikings will be back at home against Clovis High School on Jan. 5.