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Vikings pick up DAC win at Merrillville

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The Vikings headed over to Merrillville for their third DAC matchup of the year. The Pirates like to play a fast-paced brand of basketball, similarly to the Vikings. Valpo knew that they would be running up and down the floor the entire game; the key was to force turnovers and convert with easy buckets on the other end of the floor.


Both teams were exchanging buckets the whole first quarter. Valpo hit a few field goals to start the game, Platipodis made two free throws, and just like that, Valpo had the lead 12-10 with three minutes left in the quarter. A block at the end of the first by Julian Stokes led to the Kimes layup, assisted by Smiley. The Vikings had the lead at the end of the first quarter, 16–15. Valpo went on a 13-5 run to start the second and had momentum in the away gym. They were up by nine and held strong for the rest of the quarter, not losing the lead. By halftime, it was 40-34 in favor of Valpo.


With four minutes left in the third quarter, the Vikings went on a 7-0 run that forced Merrillville to call a timeout. Valpo had a 12-point lead and looked to keep up the pressure on both the offensive and defensive ends. The Pirates had a little spark that was shut down quickly by the defense of the Smiley-led Vikings. Valpo had the lead 50-43 with only a few seconds left in the quarter. Smiley dribbled up the court and found Crowell open for three; he banked it in, giving the Vikings the lead 53-43 going into the last quarter.


Valpo had a ten-point lead heading into the fourth; all they had to do was play smart and stay active on the defensive side of the ball. Three threes in the quarter for Crowell helped Valpo extend their already big lead. The Vikings were able to run a strong offensive gameplan in the fourth quarter, scoring 27 points in that quarter alone. Valpo beat Merrillville on their home floor 80-63 and moved to 13-4 on the year and 2-1 in conference play. The Vikings now have to turn around and play Munster on Saturday at home.


Junior Caden Crowell, showing that he can dominate on the court just as much as he does on the baseball field with a career high of 30 points while only missing two shots, helped lead the Vikings to victory. Jack Smiley posted an almost triple-double, scoring 23 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds. KJ Avery also chipped in 13 points, shooting 55% from the field. The main ingredient in Valpo’s win tonight was the shooting of the team, which shot 52% from beyond the arc and 60% from the field in general. They posted a season high of 80 points in a high-intensity DAC matchup.

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