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Warriors fall to Vikings in NSAA opener

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Aaron Schneider

VALLEY CITY, N.D. – Cold shooting and turnovers proved costly for the Waldorf College men’s basketball team in an 80-55 loss to Valley City State University during Friday’s North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) opener.

Waldorf (5-2, 0-1) entered the matchup ranked No. 15 in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II poll and the Vikings (9-1, 2-0) are receiving votes. Valley City State took control from the get-go.

“They’ve got a good team,” Waldorf coach Nigel Jenkins said. “They’ve got good size, guys that can shoot the basketball, guys that can put the ball on the floor and make plays and they have good depth. Honestly, I think their depth was the key to the game.”

The Vikings locked down defensively, holding the Warriors to a 19-of-50 (38-percent) shooting effort from the field and a 4-of-19 (21.1-percent) finish from 3-point range.

“We did not shoot the ball well at all,” Jenkins said. “We let some opportunities pass us throughout the entire game.”

Valley City State converted on 31-of-67 (46.3 percent) attempts from the floor while sinking 8-of-21 (38.1 percent) shots behind the arc.

“Defensively, we have to be better,” Jenkins said.

Waldorf turned the ball over 19 times as the Vikings claimed a 24-5 advantage in points off turnovers.

“Turnovers have been a big problem for us the entire year and I’m not happy about it,” Jenkins said. “We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball.”

Valley City State committed 12 turnovers in its fifth straight win. The Warriors are averaging 16.1 turnovers a game through the first seven contests this season.

“You can’t beat good teams when you’re giving them more opportunities to score because we can’t take care of the ball,” Jenkins said. “It’s something that we have to correct. We can’t stay successful when we’re turning the ball over at high rates.”

The Vikings scored the first basket and never relinquished the lead. Waldorf trailed by three points four times during the first half, but Valley City State led by as many as 13 points while building 37-27 halftime advantage. The Warriors started the second half with a 7-0 run. However, the Vikings outscored Waldorf 43-21 throughout the remainder of the contest.

June Prowell led the Warriors with a game-high 21 points. The 6-foot-2 junior guard from Atlanta shot 8-of-14 (57.1 percent) from the field and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.

Tyler Parrish came off Waldorf’s bench to provide 11 points. The 6-foot-2 junior guard from Odin, Ill. hit 4-of-9 (44.4 percent) shots from the floor.

Senior Erik Brewer added six points. Junior Michael Morgan tallied six points and blocked two shots. Sophomore Kaden Verdin contributed five points, junior Pierre Roddy notched three points, freshman Devon Collins turned in two points and junior Brandon Silva rounded out the scoring effort with one point.

Justyn Galloway paced the Vikings with 18 points. Jayden Ferguson scored 16 points while shooting 8-of-16 (50 percent) from the field.

Valley City State received some help from its bench. Nate Vieira added 11 points and dished out four assists. Riley West also dealt four assists. As a team, the Vikings received 28 of their 80 points from their reserves.

“Their bench did a good job of coming in and knocking down shots,” Jenkins said. “We didn’t necessarily do a good job of locating their shooters and containing the drive.”

Nygel Drury also scored 10 points for the Vikings.

Valley City State won the rebounding battle, securing a 37-25 advantage on the boards. Twelve offensive rebounds helped the Vikings outscore the Warriors 18-4 on second-chance points.

The Warriors complete their weekend road trip in Saturday’s 6 p.m. conference matchup against Mayville State University (5-4, 0-1) at Mayville, North Dakota.

“Mayville State is always tough,” Jenkins said. “They’re definitely going to play defense. We’ve got to come ready to play and have a better performance in every aspect of the game.”