Basketball

Bigfork’s Big Jump

Vikings are on a five-game win streak heading into the Western 7B championship

By 406MTSPORTS.COM

The time away from the court doesn’t appear to have hampered Bigfork.

The Vikings are on a five-game winning streak since spending two weeks in quarantine because of close contacts related to the coronavirus. They were 2-2 before quarantine but are now 7-2 and will play for the Western 7-B championship when they take on Thompson Falls on Saturday.

“We were out for a couple weeks, came back, hadn’t had a lot of practice but started playing better. Not sure if it was a good thing or not, but it’s seemed like it,” Bigfork second-year coach John Hollow told 406mtsports.com. “They’re a fun team and really bought into the offseason this summer. They’re young, they’re gaining confidence. After being away, they wanted to get back at it.”

Bigfork is excelling with a rather new team as three of its six main players are underclassmen following the graduation of four seniors. The Vikings returned three starters in senior Walker Fisher, sophomore Isak Epperly and junior Levi Taylor. They added Loyola transfer Cormac Benn and are seeing improving play from sophomore Bryce Gilliard and freshman Colin Wade.

Bigfork’s success is coming in an uptempo offense with fast players who can attack the basket, a departure from last year’s slow-paced offense revolving around big men. Outside shooting is an area of concern for Hollow, but his team is still averaging 65.2 points per game.

The Vikings also switched their defense to man-to-man instead of zone this year. They’re allowing 46.8 points per game this season but just 42.6 during their current win streak.

“We’ve buckled down defensively,” Hollow said. “Offense has been our strength, but we weren’t defending as well as we could have. We talked about it, but there’s a big difference between talking and doing it. During this streak, our guys have bought into the defensive end.”

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