HOLTVILLEÂ â€”Â On ThursdayÂ night at the John A. Kirchenbauer Sports Complex in Holtville, the Vikings went to war with the Kofa Kings in a boys Varsity basketball non-conference battle, but Holtville was eventually outlasted 56-45 after the final whistle.
Holtville wet the net early from beyond the arc in the first quarter, raining in five three pointers.Â
Octavio Loya, Desmond Mouze, and the gameâ€™s leading scorer Ben Rafe, with 22 points and four threes, each contributed three balls in the opening period for Holtville.
After six points on three more buckets by Rafe, and a Vikings tight-fisted defensive effort, Holtville managed to close out the first quarter up 21-15.
In a slower paced second period, Kofa struck back with a three by Brian Montenegro and two made shots by Chuy Ortiz.Â
With only five points to show in the period on a three by Rafe and runner by Loya, the Vikings found themselves up merely two possessions with time winding down before halftime.
Zac Miller would drive in a layup for the Kings to make it a two point game and spark a 9-1 run with 3:46 left to go in the first half.
A three pointer from the right corner by Jeremy Smith, a pull up from the elbow by Ortiz, and a jump shot by Miller at the buzzer would be enough for Kofa to go into halftime with a 31-27 advantage.
Holtville went right back to work opening the second half with a 16-foot pull up by Rafe.
Kofa, unwilling to relinquish the lead, made a defensive statement in the third, leaving the Vikings vessel stranded in the water with six points.Â A more deliberate style of offense effectively yielded 13 points for the Kings and chewed up the clock giving them the lead 44-33 at the start of the final quarter.
Holtville picked up the offensive tempo in the fourth. Jesus Rios hit a three ball from the right corner and Loya drove in a layup, nailed a jumper, and scorched a three of his own contributing to a 10-4 Viking surge. The contest stood now at 48-43, with Kofa ahead and 3:44 remaining in the game.Â
The Kings remained resilient, utilizing their offensive tandem of Rios and Ortiz to outscore Holtville 8-2 in the final minutes of the fourth quarter and seal the 56-45 victory.Â
â€œThe kids are improving and we are moving along,” said Antonio Ramos, Holtville’s head coach. “We played a higher division school and hung with them all the way to the half. We just need to finish it out.Â In the third quarter, we didnâ€™t take shots that were open.Â Weâ€™re going to take more shots during practice to build our confidence.Â The kids donâ€™t put their heads down, they play to the end of the game, and they play with heart, and thatâ€™s all I can ask for,â€ Ramos added.
The Vikings are now 7-7 after the defeat, but will have a clean slate to open up Desert League Conference play at home versus Palo Verde on January 17.Â Â Â