This was a battle in every sense of the word.
Viborg-Hurley overcame an early deficit, a dramatic last-second shot and found a way to knock off second-seeded James Valley Christian 55-47 in overtime at Wachs Arena Thursday night. The opening-round game at the Class B boys state basketball tournament was filled with plenty of emotion and intensity from the opening whistle.
“I don’t think we disappointed any of the paying customers, that’s for sure,” said Viborg-Hurley coach Galen Schoenefeld. “Kids from both teams made big plays. We’re fortunate to come out ahead.”
The verdict avenged an 18-point setback to Vikings earlier in the season.
“They came out with much more intensity,” said JVC coach Darwin Hofer.
With the favored Vikings breathing down their necks in the closing seconds, the Cougars managed to stay in front and when Jack Huether made two free throws with 4.5 seconds left it appeared James Valley was in dire straits.
That’s when Hofer hauled in a perfect three-quarter court pass, turned and nailed a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime.
“We thought we had it defended pretty well,” Schoenefeld said. “I don’t know how he gathered himself, because it seemed like he was off balanced when he caught, but he put it in.”
It just so happened the ball ended up in Hora’s hands on the opening possession and the 6-foot-6 post player calmly nailed a three-pointer to set the stage for overtime.
“Actually, freshman, sophomore, junior years that’s all I did was shoot 3s,” Hora said. “I had never played post because we had Zach Kraning.”
While JVC had a response numerous times during regulation, the Vikings ran out of comebacks and eventually ran out of time in the overtime.
“These games come down to a possession here and a possession there,” Hofer said. “Every possession is so important to us and we just didn’t capitalize on some that we needed to.”
Tyler Gerdes led Viborg-Hurley with 19 points. Hora contributed 13 points and a career-best 19 rebounds. Jack Huether followed with 12 points, including six straight clutch free throws to keep his team in front.
Hofer poured in a game-high 29 points before fouling out late in the game.
“He’s a great player,” Huether said. “You just have to hope for the best and do what you can.”
The Vikings played without starting center Andrew Ulvestad due to illness.
“What a great team James Valley Christian is,” Schoenefeld said. “Either one of us could have won this game, that’s for sure.”
Gerdes 8-10 3-6 19, Huether 2-7 6-6 12, Jocobsen 1-10 3-4 6, Hora 5-10 2-2 13, Andersen 2-4 1-2 5. Totals: 18-41 15-20 55.
JAMES VALLEY CHRISTIAN (21-3)
Glanzer 1-4 0-0 3, Waldner 2-7 0-0 5, Wedel 2-11 2-2 6, Hofer 11-21 0-0 29, Brondsema 1-4 0-0 2, Stahl 0-3 2-2 2. Totals: 17-50 4-4 47.
Viborg-Hurley 7 22 35 45 55
James Valley Christian 18 23 30 45 47
3-pointers: VH 4-19 (Gerdes 0-1, Huether 2-7, Jacobsen 1-7, Hora 1-3, Andersen 0-1), JVC 9-20 (Glanzer 1-2, Waldner 1-2, Wedel 0-3, Hofer 7-12, Brondsema 0-1). Rebounds: VH 38 (Hora 19), JVC 23 (Brondsema 6). Assists: VH 13 (Jacobsen 5), JVC 7 (Glanzer 2, Hofer 2). Total fouls: VH 11, JVC 20. Fouled out: Waldner.