Vikings survive in 2OT, advance to 9-A semis

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Austin Bonner (12) of the Vikings is fouled as he drives to the basket. Bonner hit the resulting free throws and had five points in the Community double overtime victory.
T-G Photo by Rickey Clardy

HUNTLAND — The Community Vikings had their postseason motto “Survive and Advance” on their warm up tops Tuesday night.

Never was that motto more evident than in the Vikings’ quarterfinal elimination game against the Fayetteville City Tigers.

It took 40 minutes of play and two overtimes, but the Vikings escaped with a 50-46 victory over the Tigers in the District 9-A tournament.

“It was survive and advance for sure,” Viking coach Robbie Davis said. “It’s been a long time since we hit a cold spell on offense, but our guys picked it up on defense and made just enough plays to survive.”

Community (12-16) advanced despite scoring six points in the second and fourth quarters combined.

The first quarter was anything but a scoring challenge as the Vikings lit the scoreboard for 21 points.

Dillon Whitaker led the way with seven points as Community went on an 8-0 run to take a 21-14 lead heading to the second quarter.

The Vikings could only muster four points in the second quarter as the Tigers fought back. Fayetteville used 5-0 runs at the beginning and end of the period to take a 29-25 halftime lead.

Community found the range in the third quarter to retake the lead. The Vikings outscored the Tigers 14-8 to take a 39-37 advantage into the fourth quarter.

Nathan Smith scored the first points in the quarter as the Vikings went up 41-37.

It was the last points of the period for Community.

In a quarter where both teams were content to slow the pace down and run time off the clock, the Tigers tied the game at 41-41 with 1:12 remaining.

The Vikings could not score late as the game went into the first overtime.

It was Community playing catch-up in the extra frame. After Fayetteville went up 45-42, the Vikings used a bucket by Smith and a free throw by Jackson Wisener to tie the game at 45-45 with 47 seconds left.

The Vikings withstood a go ahead bucket by the Tigers that was nullified by a time out and some late misses by Fayetteville, sending the game to another overtime.

Community scored in the first second of the second overtime on a free throw by Whitaker to go ahead 46-45. The Vikings were leading 49-46 with 28 seconds left when a key defensive series by Community kept the Tigers from tying the game.

Whitaker added one free throw with three seconds left to provide the Vikings with their final margin of victory.

Whitaker led the Vikings with 14 points.

Ty Reese led Fayetteville with 15 points.

The Vikings were 15-of-28 at the free throw line, while Fayetteville was 10-of-12.

“So much different when loser goes home,” Davis said. “Guys shoot and play offense a lot more tense and we did for sure tonight.”

The Vikings advance to the semifinals and will face top-seeded MTCS Friday night in Huntland at 6 p.m.

“Big challenge against one of the best teams in Class A in the state,” Davis said. “We will be a huge underdog for sure, but I know our guys will go out and compete.”

Community also punched a ticket to the Region 5-A tournament that will be played next week.

Fayetteville 14 15 8 4 5 — 46

Community 21 4 14 2 9 — 50

Fayetteville: Floyd Williams 11, Isaiah Watkins 10, Akoyai Dyer 5, Jacious Clark 4, Isaiah Jones 1, Ty Reese 15, Mari Buchanan.

Community: Dillon Whitaker 14, Nathan Smith 9, Jackson Wisener 7, Thomas Buchanan 7, Tyler Bushnell 5, Austin Bonner 5, Alex Mitchell 3, Tyrese Eady, Grayson Garrette.

3-Point goals: Fayetteville (2): Williams, Reese; Community (3): Buchanan 2, Bushnell.

Halftime score: Fayetteville 29, Community 25.