When you are a young basketball team every win is a huge thrill. Tournament wins, however, are even more special.
Which was the case for a Miami East basketball team who has exceeded expectations for those outside of the locker room. After all, not many expected the Vikings to win a league championship and reach the sectional final with no seniors on the roster and all but two of their players being in the sophomore and freshman classes.
Yet, the Vikings continue to surprise as they defeated Bethel 61-42 on Wednesday in the D-III sectionals at Vandalia-Butler High School. Miami East will face state-ranked Versailles at 4:00pm on Saturday in the sectional final on the same floor.
Miami East, who had split with Bethel during the regular season, took control of the game at the outset – building a 10-point lead after one, 15-5.
The Vikings increased their lead to 30-16 at the break and 47-26 at the end of the third.
Bethel battled to the end and outscored the Vikings 16-14 in the final frame, but it was too little too late for the Bees, who ended their season at 10-14.
Miami East’s offensive success came from its two-headed monster in sophomores Wes Ends and Jacob Roeth. Enis, who is the son of former NFL player Curtis Enis, scored a game-high 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds in leading the charge. Roeth had 23 points on the night as the duo accounted for 49 of the Vikings’ 61 points.
But its wasn’t a two-man show for Miami East as others contributed at both ends of the floor.
For example, Mitchell Kemp pulled down 8 rebounds with a team-high 5 coming on the offensive end. Connor Apple dropped in 5 points on the night and matched Roeth with a team-high 4 assists.
Overall, the Vikings were 24-52 from the floor for 46% – including 6-15 from three-point range for 40 percent. The Vikings also converted on 7-9 free throws for 77 percent.
Next up is a tough task against Versailles, who had defeated Miami East 69-60 on December 28.
But that was two months ago and the Vikings will see how much this young team has improved since the turn of the new year.