Vikings claim first 9-A victory

Saturday, December 1, 2007
Viking point guard David Natalie drives the baseline against the Cougars. (T-G Photo by Jimmy Jones)

MURFREESBORO -- If the Community Vikings and Middle Tennessee Christian's Cougars are going to finish in the bottom of the District 9-A standings as some so-called experts predict, then it's going to be a lot of fun to see how it all plays out as the season progresses.

Josh Hull and Justin Stallings combined for 26 points to lead the Vikings (3-1, 1-0 in 9-A) to a 53-46 road win in yet another frenzy-packed, highly charged kinetic-energy paced game Friday night.

It was the first district win -- and an eye-opening experience -- for first-year Viking coach Jace Bryant.

"Definitely a fun game to coach and great entertainment for the fans," Bryant said. "This is what high school basketball is all about. I really appreciated that our guys were able to put aside all the distractions created by the crowded conditions and channel their energy into the game. I was impressed by their business-like approach despite the pace of the game."

Both teams claimed the lead on four occasions in the opening quarter with the Cougars holding a slim 10-9 lead at the buzzer.

David Natale hit a quick 3-pointer and Josh Hull and Cody Pierce combined for 10 points to jump-start the Vikings as they put up 19 points in the second period to lead 28-24.

Community junior Wylder Norris contributed 10 points and some big rebounds in his team's win over the Cougars. (T-G Photo by Jimmy Jones)

"We played well on both sides of the ball and I was especially pleased with our approach to the opening minutes of the first and third quarters," Bryant said. "That is a part of the game that we have worked hard on in practice and the kids put it into practical use tonight.

"It was a major factor in us getting out of here with a win."

MTC (1-3, 0-1) managed to pull to within two points with 6:13 left to play, but Natale contributed two clutch steals that led to points for the Vikingss and turned momentum back toward the Purple and Gold.

Community placed three men in double figures offensively with Hull and Stallings totaling 13 each. Wylder Norris continued his solid play with 10 points and six rebounds.

Logan Siler had 12 points to lead the Cougars.

The Vikings visit Boyd Christian on Tuesday.