Anthony Dabbundo (@AnthonyDabbundo)
Head coach Mike Poysden and Perkiomen Valley tried to treat Thursday’s night encounter with archrival Spring-Ford as if it were just another game.
With the history of these two teams in the last 12 months, that simply wasn’t possible.
The Vikings wanted revenge.
After scoring 43 points in the opening half, the Vikings had made their statement, dominating Spring-Ford from the tip-off en route to a 74-46 win.
“I’d be lying if I said we didn’t want some revenge,” Vikings senior guard Justin Jaworski said.
Last season, Perkiomen Valley was one second away from the league title on the very same court.
The fans rushed the court prematurely after a Jaworski floater, they were given a technical foul, and Spring-Ford went on to win in overtime.
This time, the Vikings only needed 16 minutes to effectively end the contest.
The offense was about as efficient as a high school offense can be, moving the ball from side to side, inside and out, toying with the Rams’ defense until they ended up with a wide open lay-up or three on almost every possession.
“It’s all about trust,” Poysden said. “Trust your teammates to help you out, trust them to find you when you’re open and trust them to pick you up when you’re down.”
Perk Valley shot 8-of-11 from the floor in the first quarter, scoring 20 points, all while stifling Spring-Ford by forcing them into long threes and turnovers. The Rams shot just 3-of-11 from the field in the opening quarter, along with 0-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Of 27 made field goals, the Vikings assisted one another on 19 of them.
“We didn’t compete at all tonight,” Rams head coach Chris Talley said. “It was clear from the tip they were more ready to compete.”
“We didn’t play with any sense of urgency and we didn’t match their intensity,” he continued.
Led by Jaworski, the Vikings offense didn’t miss a beat the entire night. The superstar guard was 10-of-17 from the field, finishing with 23 points to lead all scorers.
Hogan Millheim, despite being just 6-foot tall, dominated the interior for the Vikings, finishing off possession after possession with buckets in the paint, scoring 14 points. Millheim outworked, out hustled, and outrebounded his Ram counterparts, despite giving a few inches on every one of them.
“We were moving the ball and getting wide open shots,” the senior forward said. “I can’t say that we didn’t think about getting revenge on them, but we played with focus.”
Meanwhile, Sean Owens scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half, including back to back three point plays in the first quarter, to help build the insurmountable 26 point lead at the break.
Add in 13 points from sophomore sharpshooter Tyler Strechay, and the rout was on.
The Vikings offense was steamrolling, and the Rams were just along for the ride.
Talley tried everything to spark his team, going deep into the bench and getting production from Stone Scarcelle, Robert Bobeck and Eric Page. But the Rams were simply unable to find a way to stop the Vikings offense, who shot a whopping 70% in the first half.
The one positive thing was the guys coming off the bench played with energy,” Talley said. “Guys like Eric and Stone competed.”
At the opposite end, Perk Valley executed their gameplan well, forcing Spring-Ford into difficult shots, and holding Rams’ leading scorers Ryan Fitzpatrick, Chucky Drummond, and Nestor Diaz to just 10 combined points.
After an upset loss to Owen J. Roberts last Thursday night, Poysden called upon his three seniors leaders to make a statement and get refocused.
“I challenged our seniors to step up as captains who have played together their whole lives and told them it’s on them to go out and get it done,” he said.
And they delivered.
“After starting 0-1 in the league, every single game in this league is a statement, especially on the road,” Jaworski said.
With two huge wins over Boyertown Tuesday and Spring-Ford Thursday, the Vikings have asserted themselves as clear favorites in the PAC Liberty division.
When you beat the defending league champions by 28 points on their home floor, one thing is for sure.
Unlike February 9th, there will be no debating about which team should have won this game.