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KINGSBURG - After a two-week layoff, the Kingsburg Vikings got back in the win column with a 62-58 victory over Washington Union in a nonleague game on Jan. 3.

The Vikings improved to 6-9 overall with the win, which but it didn’t come easy against a 1-12 Washington Union Panthers team.

“It was a pretty good game, they put pressure on us and we have to learn to get stronger with the ball,” Kingsburg guard Cj Laita said. “We’re still trying to learn how to put a full game together, so I think playing them really help us learning stuff like that.”

Vikings guard Jason Gunn said they didn’t play with an urgency in the beginning of the game, but the end result is all that mattered to him.

“We just played tougher than them,” Gunn said. “We should’ve play the whole game [like that], things happen, but I’m glad we got a dub. That’s all it matters.”

Gunn was one of four players that scored in double-digit figures. Logan Byrum, Nate Towsley, and Juan Ortega all reached the double-digit mark in points. Gunn led with 13 points followed by 11 each from Byrum and Towsley and 10 from Ortega.

Despite four double-digit scorers, It would be a contested game on the defensive side of the floor from both teams.

Both teams held each other in check in the first half with four lead changes. The largest lead between the teams in the first half would be at five, which was a 7-2 score with Kingsburg ahead in the first quarter.

The second half was similar, but this time the Vikings only squandered the lead once. After being down 43-44 near the end of the third quarter, Kingsburg would lead for the rest of the game.

“When we went into our half court defense, we were doing pretty good not letting them get open threes, contesting everything,” Laita said. “It was really just hustling back and playing with intensity, so I think since it was the end of the game, the intensity was a lot higher than it was in the other quarters.”

The Vikings would end up leading after every quarter with it’s largest lead of the game at seven. That score would be at 54-47 in the fourth quarter.

With the win behind them, Gunn and Laita are looking to help improve the team’s 0-2 league record.

“I think we’re ready for league,” Gunn said.

“We haven’t played in a while, so some things were a little sloppy,” Laitia said. “Come back tomorrow at practice and get ready for Dinuba.”

The Vikings played the Emperors on the road in a CSL game on Tuesday (after press time). Dinuba came into the game with a 1-2 record in league.

Up next

The Vikings will continue league play by hosting Central Valley Christian (10-2, 2-0 in CSL) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.. After, Kingsburg will play Exeter on the road on Jan. 14 before a rivalry matchup against Selma two days later.

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Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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