Vale's Kade Haueter powers toward the basket during a non-league game against Parma Dec. 15. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).

VALE – Parma’s Jared Nelson poured in 24 points – including five three-pointers – to lead the Panther’s past Vale 61-41 Saturday in a non-league boys’ basketball contest.

“That’s a very good team,” Vale Coach Colby Shira said of the Panthers.

Saturday’s matchup capped a busy week for the Vikings. On Dec. 11, Vale fell to Melba 39-25 before rolling past Payette, 53-35 last Thursday.

Saturday afternoon, Kade Haueter paced the Vikings with 13 points while teammate Tanner Hamilton chipped in 12.

The Panthers used a big scoring spurt in the second quarter to take control of the game.

“They got hot and played really well in the first half,” said Shira. “Defensively we were fine but we have to be able to score more points.”

The Panthers, the No. 3 ranked Idaho 3A team, held a commanding 35-17 lead at intermission.

The Vikings, though, refused to go away and pestered the Panthers throughout the second half. Vale closed the gap to 10 points twice in the third quarter and trailed 41-31 at the start of the final frame but couldn’t catch up.

“We just ran out of legs,” said Shira.

Against Melba the Vikings suffered from cold shooting, said Shira.

“That was a rough offensive night for us,” said Shira. “We worked hard, we just didn’t make any shots.”

Against Payette, Shira said the Vikings utilized a press in the second half to help claim the win.

“We picked it up and our shooting was obviously a lot better,” said Shira.

The preseason schedule has been a grind for the Vikings.

“Every night is a tough opponent for us. We’ve been in every game,” said Shira.

Shira doesn’t spend much time thinking about the Vikings’ 2-5 preseason mark.

The Vikings entered into the hoop season with several players on the roster nursing njuries from football season, said Shira.

Shira said the preseason showed him his team is resilient.

“They work extremely hard and they are very tough kids,” said Shira.

Vale is a physical team. Smaller than most of their opponents, the Vikings battle inside the paint and hustle for rebounds.

“They get after it. There are a lot of competitors on the team and they don’t back down,” said Shira.

Refining the physical aspect of their game will be key, said Shira.

“We have to play as physical as we can because we are not very big but we have to do that without fouling,” said Shira. “We are just trying to figure out what we are best at offensively and defensively.”

The Vikings compete in the Truckstop.com Christmas Tournament at the College of Idaho beginning Thursday. The 16-team tourney runs through Saturday.

Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.