The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

January 17, 2014

Vikings, Hoskins double their fun

Danville will take two-game win streak into Saturday's game at Urbana

BY CHAD DARE cdare@dancomnews.com
The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — Sophomore Alexis Hoskins has been striving to record a double-double all season.

The 5-foot-6 forward for the Danville Vikings achieved her goal for the third time this season on Thursday night at Danville High School.

Hoskins finished with 12 points and a team-high 13 rebounds as Danville defeated the Decatur Eisenhower Panthers 43-32 in the Big 12 Conference girls basketball game.

"I'm pretty excited, this is something that I've been working hard to get all year and I got another one tonight,'' said Hoskins., who leads Danville with nearly eight rebounds per game. "Getting the points is the toughest part for me. I'm not the greatest shooter and I probably don't dive the ball to the basket enough.''

And what about the rebounds?

"I'm not the tallest player on the court, but that doesn't matter,'' she said. "I just work hard to get the ball.''

Danville coach Brian Anderson said that Hoskins has been one of his pleasant surprises this season as the Vikings improved to 7-10 overall and 4-4 in the Big 12 Conference.

"Lexi show up like a blue-collar worker with her hard hat on,'' Anderson said. "She goes to work every day on the basketball court.''

Also making a big contribution to Danville's second consecutive victory was junior guard Michaela Jones, who finished with a game-high 20 points, 14 of those coming in the second half.

"We've been struggling a little big and it was kind of disappointing,'' said Jones, as the Vikings had lost six out of seven before last Saturday's win over Decatur MacArthur. "We were going to practice every day and working hard. But, not getting a win can bring down your effort.

"We didn't let that happen. We kept playing hard and we've been able to get some wins.''

Hoskins added, "tonight, I think we were able to put everything together.''

Danville did that on both ends of the court against Eisenhower, which falls to 6-9 overall and 4-6 in the Big 12.

Tiana Cook, who had a game-high 28 points in a win over the Vikings (63-56) on Dec. 5, was held to just 16 points on Thursday night and she was 6-of-17 from the field.

"We were pretty good defensively,'' Anderson said. "We did let the Cook girl go crazy like she did the first time we played them.''

Additionally, after the Vikings committed seven turnovers in the first quarter, they had just seven more in the final three periods. According to Jones, the biggest difference was "composure."

"In the first quarter, we just got too excited and we were throwing really bad passes,'' she said. "When we stay focused, we make good passes and it really helps our offense.''

With a team-high 13 rebounds from Hoskins, the Vikings were able to win the battle of the boards, out-rebounding the Panthers 38-33.

"They are longer and older than us, but our girls kept battling,'' said Anderson, who also credited Desi Isaac, Jill Cooper-Watson and Ashley Greene with good performances as all three finished with five boards.

Danville will be seeking its first three-game winning streak of the season this Saturday when the Lady Vikings travel to Urbana to face the Tigers, who they have beaten twice already this season. Tipoff on Saturday is set for 1 p.m. for the junior varsity contest and the varsity game will tentatively begin at 2:30 p.m.

"That's two in a row and three out of our last five,'' Anderson said. "We are playing about as good as we can play.

"We got another winable game on Saturday at Urbana.''

In Thursday's junior-varsity game, Danville cruised past Eisenhower 43-12. Olivia Sykes had a game-high 13 points for the Vikings, while Caitline Wolfe finished with eight.