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After spending their first two years in Section 1 Class B trying to find a way to compete, the Vikings are finally getting to the point where they believe they can make a run in the postseason.
The team will be led by senior co-captains Joe Lovecchio and Terrance Tribble. These strong leaders will be welcome in a starting lineup that features three underclassmen.
“I believe this is the first year that we’ve been in Class B where we’ll be able to compete physically,” Vikings coach Dave Greiner said. “The kids put in the work over the summer and we play in three tournaments before Christmas so by then we’ll have a pretty good idea of where we are.”
Two of these young players ready to make an impact are transfers. Ezekiel Demasio-Coleman is a 6-foot-4 sophomore and Peace Ilegomah is a 6-foot-10 freshman.
Add those two to the 6-foot-3 Tribble and the Vikings have the potential for the most dominant frontcourt in Class B. Junior Mark Kinnally will be the sixth man and, at 6-5, Kinnally will help the Vikings will control the glass.
“We’re a deep team, our JV was very good last year and I have fifteen kids who can play so our practices are super-competitive,” Greiner said. “That’s good for the team; everybody knows they have to work at it.”
The Vikings have both size and depth, two things you cannot coach. They hope to patrol the lane and use their size to alter and block shots. They will be able to attack teams from inside and out and will be a matchup nightmare for most of Class B.
Tyler Wills, So. 5-7, G– Wills will often be the fastest player on the court and has strengthened his smaller frame in order to deal with the rigors of the point guard position.
Joe Lovecchio, Sr. 5-9, G– Though Wills is going to be bringing the ball up, it will be Lovecchio’s steady leadership and hustle on both sides of the ball that will pace the Vikings.
Terrence Tribble, Sr. 6-3, F– As a potential All-Section player, Tribble has the skill set to play both above the rim and shoot from beyond the arc.
Ezekiel Demasio-Coleman, So. 6-4, F– The sophomore transfer from Kennedy Catholic is just one piece of Valhalla’s sizable frontcourt.
Peace Ilegomah, Fr. 6-9 C– Ilegomah will be a work-in-progress on offense this season but his game-changing ability on defense pushed him into the starting role.
Go-to Player: Terrence Tribble– Tribble averaged 16 points and 12 rebounds last year and while his rebound numbers may drop with the addition of Demasio-Coleman and Ilegomah, their presence will certainly open up more scoring chances.
Best Defender: Joe Lovecchio– Greiner called Lovecchio “one of the best athletes in Section 1” and he showcases that athleticism as a relentless on-the-ball defender.
Most Improved: Mark Kinnally – An off-season dedication to the weight room and bettering his perimeter game makes Kinnally a dangerous player off the bench.
Games to Watch:Edgemont Tournament, 12/13/12 – 12/15/12; Blind Brook, 1/09/13, @ Blind Brook, 2/01/13
Key to the Season:It may be counter-intuitive but with so many big men, three-point shooting will actually play a big role. The Vikings have to prove that they can hit the outside shot so defenders can’t just pack the zone against Tribble, Demasio-Coleman and Ilegomah. With some space to maneuver, those three should own the glass.