By Chris Johnson


The North Boone Vikings closed out the first tournament of the 2016 winter sports season with a fourth place finish at the Pecatonica Thanksgiving Turkey Tourney.

The Warren Warriors won the season-opening tip-off classic. They were 4-0. The Pecatonica Indians finished in second, followed by South Beloit in third.

Things could have worked out differently for the Vikings had they survived Pecatonica in the tournament’s final game. It wasn’t meant to be. The Indians moved to 3-1 to start the season.

North Boone dropped to 1-3. A win over Pecatonica would have meant a log jam was built near the top. They lost the game, but there will be many games still waiting for North Boone that will have the same type of impact on the team, as the play through the Big Northern schedule.

Had the Vikings toppled the Indians in the tournament closer, Warren still would have won, but Pecatonica, South Beloit, and North Boone would have tied for second place. North Boone wouldn’t have finished in fourth alone. The big game swings will still occur. These moments will matter a lot more, later in the season.

Pecatonica battled North Boone as if second place was on the line. Each team scored 15 as the game moved into the second eight-minute period. In the second quarter, the Vikings sank only two shots and another from the line. The Indians unleashed and added 19 points to their total. Heading into the break, the host Indians were in control and in front 34-21.

Offenses were slowed in the third as the two teams combined for a total of 18 points, one less than Pecatonica had scored one period earlier. At the end of three, it was clear time was close to running out for North Boone as their deficit grew to 15, 44-29.

In the final period, the Vikings seemed to find a system that worked. Six players scored in the final minutes. North Boone outpaced Pecatonica 14-12, but couldn’t overcome the second quarter edge the host had pushed them towards. In the end, they would fall 56-43.

The Vikings turned south on Tuesday, Dec. 6, as they played outside the conference confines in Harvard. Details of that match are unavailable at this time.

There will be chances for the Vikings to try to make up some ground over the next couple weeks. This Friday, Dec. 9, the annual visit to Ogle County ends after an evening meeting with the Byron Tigers concludes. The road trip continues for North Boone as they take on Johnsburg next Tuesday, Dec. 13, before they head to a more comfortable setting.

The final home game of the 2016 portion of the winter sports season will be against Dixon on Saturday, Dec. 17. Beginning Thursday, Dec. 22 and working though the Christmas break, the Vikings begin play in the Marengo Holiday Invitational.

The Milk Can Game with Clinton will be held on Saturday, Jan. 7, before the Big Northern schedule resumes at home against the Winnebago Indians on Tuesday, Jan. 10 for the North Boone Vikings.

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