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Valpo wins DAC opener at Portage


The Vikings had their first DAC matchup at Portage on Friday. It was a strong defensive battle that consisted of top players within the conference. The game started off slow, with the final after the first quarter being 7-5. Near the end of the half, Smiley turned the Indians over and made a layup, cutting the lead to two and forcing Portage to take a timeout. By halftime, the Indians were up by five, leading 18-13. Portage’s defensive gameplan was to trap Jack Smiley whenever he caught the ball and not let him get open. That held true for the first half, while Smiley only had six points.


The third quarter was all Smiley while he scored nine points, shooting a perfect 3-3 from three and helping the Vikings take the lead with two minutes left in the third. Valpo had the lead, 34-30, going into the fourth quarter.


The Vikings had the lead for almost the entire fourth; it came down to thirty seconds left, and Sam Wellman, a junior guard for Portage, hit a three to tie the game up at 44 with twenty seconds left. The Vikings take it down to their own side of the court and call a timeout. Valpo sets up in their out-of-bounds play, and Michael Wellman, a wing for Portage, gets a technical foul and sends Smiley to the line, shooting two. He went 1-2 at the line, and the Vikings retained the ball. As soon as Caden Crowell inbounded KJ Avery, he was fouled, sending him to the line, where he went 1-2. Valpo takes the lead, 46-44. Portage gets the ball into the paint off of an inbound play and gets fouled, sending their big, Jaelyn Johnson, to the line, where he goes 1-2. The Vikings have the lead 46-45, and Jack Smiley goes to the free throw line to increase the lead. He misses the first, makes the second, and Valpo has a two-point lead. Portage gets the ball down the court on a full court heave, and while attempting the three-point shot, the Portage guard travels, giving the ball to Valpo with 0.7 seconds left. The Vikings ended up winning the game 47-45.


Smiley finished the game with 18 points, shooting 4-5 from three and also grabbing six rebounds. KJ Avery had nine, Trent Kimes had eight, and Caden Crowell added six. The Vikings have momentum going into a home matchup on Saturday that will bring back former Valpo Coach Barak Coolman.

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