The Vikings tamed the Tigers, hitting six first half 3-pointers, en route to a 61-44 Cross County Conference victory over host Ansonia.
“Everything was falling for us in the early going,” Miami East coach Allen Mack said. “We were really aggressive and that created a lot of good looks for us tonight. I could not be anything but pleased with an 18-4 first period.”
Rick Vega opened the parade hitting the first 3-pointer early in the first period. Overall Vega ended with 10 points on the night. At that point it was 5-0 Vikings as East took an early advantage and never trailed in the contest. Teammate Dan Hickman led the Vikings with 15 points, helping to offset a dominating performance by Ansonia’s Eric Beisner.
“Dan Hickman led the way, but Rick Vega, that was the first time he hit double figure scoring all season. He was really able to loosen up the defense on that side” noted Mack. “I am pleased with the way the guys played and they just had a tremendous game for us.”
Beisner dropped in 15 points and pulled down 15 rebounds, Niles Brown led all scorers with 16 points in the losing effort.
The problem for the Tigers was that the 5-0 deficit just kept growing in the first period. When the buzzer finally sounded on the first eight minutes East was up 18-4. That advantage continued to expand in the second quarter as the Vikings hit 14-of-31 field goals in the first half.
The biggest blow came when Vega hit another three at 2:49 mark, upping the Viking advantage to 31-12. When the miserable first half finally concluded for the Tigers they were down 38-14 and left with two options – keep working and hope for a miracle. They got the first but the second proved much harder to come by.
“I was real pleased with the kids’ effort in the second half,” Ansonia coach Chad Cramer said. “Coming in Miami East had three guys that had hit 3-pointers all year. You have to give East credit as they played really well in the first half. They shot it really well tonight.”
In the third period the Tigers finally got something going. Using a trapping 2-3
half court defense; Cramer’s crew ripped off a 13-3 run. Leading the charge was Beisner who started to control the game. The senior cleaned the glass and converted on the offensive end. Brown also made his presence felt hitting a number of big shots. The Tiger surge made things interesting, cutting the deficit to 40-27.
But the Tigers were finally thwarted as the period wore down. Following a basket, the Viking’s Richie Miller converted a traditional three-point play and just like that it was a 45-29 game. That was how the third stanza ended as East regained full control of the contest.
“They had a nice little run in the third period and that concerned us,” Mack said. “Ansonia is a nice team. I told the kids to start hitting the middle on offense and Richie (Miller) had a big basket for us.”
In the opening minutes of the fourth stanza Miami East ripped off a 6-0 run pushing the lead to 51-29. That was the icing on the cake for the Vikings as they dashed any Tiger hopes of a big comeback.
After the Viking run the rest of the period was mostly about running out the clock. That was exactly what Miami East did winning 61-44 and improving to 3-2 on the season. Ansonia drops to 2-3.