For the first time ever, the Victor Pirates enter the Class C state tournament as the Western C divisional champions. It will be only the third time that Victor has competed at the state tournament. Victor earned the trip by defeating Ennis, 51-33, in the championship game.
“We’re tough to beat,” said first year coach Drew Lewis of the Pirates after their opening game against Gardiner.
That proved to be the case throughout the Western C Divisional in Hamilton. Every game gave the Pirates more confidence and that, in turn, earned them another victory.
Kyle Ball, the Pirates’ go to guy, got off to a shaky start in their opening game against Gardiner. While he rarely picks up more than a couple of fouls a game, first game jitters got the best of him and he had three fouls before the first half was over.
“Picking up three fouls is out of character for him,” said Lewis. “But the rest of the boys, they stayed steady and came to play.”
Victor had a six point lead at the end of the first half against Gardiner in their opening game of the Western C Divisional. They continued to build on the lead and went on to win, 68-52. Ball finished with 20 points including two treys and 10 rebounds. Randy Miller added 15 more points and also had 10 rebounds. Corey Deering added 11 points. Lewis also credited Nate Bishop for coming off the bench and playing tough defense.
Victor 68, Gardiner 52
Victor – Kyle Ball 20, Corey Deering 11, Randy Miller 15, Derrick Cavill 5, Matt Kittel 6, Nate Bishop 9, Michael O’Leary 2.
Gardiner – Kremer 26, Reihart 4, Wines 9, Coy 6, Darr 7,
The Pirates advanced to the semi finals where they met Manhattan Christian. Victor jumped out to a 12-point lead at the end of the first quarter and cruised to a 56-42 victory and a trip to the championship game. Ball finished with 30 points. Miller battled for 10 rebounds.
Victor 56, Manhattan Christian 42
Manhattan Christian – C. VanDyken 20, Kamps 1, B. VanDyken 8, Daines 5, Heidema 4, Blanksma 2, N. Kroon 2.
Victor – Ball 30, Deering 1, Miller 10, Cavill 6, Kittel 5, Bishop 4.
Ennis had been the top team from the eastern districts in the division until Gardiner won the championships. The Mustangs were bigger than Victor but that didn’t matter to the Pirates. Victor took an early lead and never trailed in the game. They handled the larger team with speed and scoring and went on to win, 51-33.
Victor 51, Ennis 33
Ennis – Goodman 4, Farnes 2, B. McKittrick 6, Bullock 10, Sullivan 10, W. McKittrick 1.
Victor – Ball 23, Deering 3, Miller 4, Cavill 7, Kittel 11, Bishop 3.
On the girls’ side of the Western C Divisional, Darby had a tough time against Gardiner in their opening game of the tournament. Darby lost to Gardiner, 61-40. Keely Ehmann finished with 13 points, including two three pointers, to lead the Lady Tigers.
The Lady Tigers then matched up against Superior in loser out action. Although Darby stayed close in the game, Superior pulled ahead in the final quarter and took the 57-50 win. Lacey Dolcater had 11 points and Keely Ehmann and Julie Abrahamsen each had 10 points.