Vale’s John Wolfe (4) drives toward the key during second half action against Amity. (The Enterprise/PAT CALDWELL)
VALE – On a night when Amity shut down two of Vale’s most potent offensive weapons, the Vikings collected big games from Colton Stepleton and Kade Kurata to help post a 60-42 victory in a first-round playoff contest.
The Vale victory sends the Vikings to the Class 3A state tournament at North Bend High School. The Vikings (10-0, 20-5) will face No. 3-ranked Dayton (5-1, 18-7) Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Amity (12-11) kept the game close throughout the first half, but the Vikings established jurisdiction midway through the third quarter and never looked back.
The Warriors managed to keep Vale’s Diesel Johnson and John Wolfe from inflicting their usual offensive damage during most of the game and both were plagued by foul trouble.
“John had a tough night offensively and Diesel ended up fouling out,” said Vale coach Colby Shira.
Yet it didn’t matter.
Kurata and Stepleton delivered the gutsy, high-octane performance familiar to Viking fans during the season and each finished the night with 15 points.
Vale’s Kade Kurata (right) tries to push past an Amity defender on the way to the bucket in a playoff game Friday night. (The Enterprise/PAT CALDWELL)
“The complete game was probably between Kade and Colton,” said Shira.
Kurata was surprised about his point total. He said there wasn’t anything magical about the Vale win.
“We win when we pass the ball and play as a team. We knew this was our last game on our home court,” said Kurata.
Tanner Steele led the Vikings on the glass with eight rebounds. Logan Grove paced the Warriors with nine points.
Kade Kurata (32) is congratulated by teammate Diesel Johnson as he comes off the court toward the end of the game against Amity. (The Enterprise/PAT CALDWELL)
Vale used its smothering defense to create turnovers – the Vikings ended the night with 11 turnovers while Amity recorded 18. The second quarter proved to be physical one for both teams but Vale held a 25-17 advantage at intermission.
“They made it tough, and it was a very physical second quarter but defensively we were pretty tough,” said Shira.
Vale began to extend the lead in the third quarter and led by as much as 52-32 midway through the final stanza.
“We were a lot better offensively in the second half, more consistent,” said Shira.
Wolfe also emphasized the win was a team triumph.
“We were hitting shots and defensively we had guys step up,” said Wolfe.
Shira said a new season begins at North Bend High School. Dayton, he said, will be tough.
“It’s going to take a heck of an effort from us. But we got our ticket to the big dance, and you get there, and anything can happen. Our kids have to play well but so do they,” he said.
News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected].
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