DANVILLE — The Danville Vikings sprinted out to an early lead, and never looked back, as they defeated the Decatur Eisenhower Panthers 74-44 in Big 12 Conference action on Friday evening at Danville High School.
The Vikings jumped ahead, and scored early and often, taking a commanding 23-8 lead at the end of the first quarter, as Danville’s defensive pressure was too much for Eisenhower to handle.
“We haven’t had that kind of an effort all season, and even in our losses, they have been close,” Danville coach Ted Houpt said. “It was nice to get a complete effort and get some of the guys on the bench a chance to see some action.”
Denzel Smith led a balanced attack for the Vikings with 19 points, while Kylen Butler and Jarhed Watson chipped in 14 and 13 points, respectively for Danville, who improves to 5-11 overall and moves to 3-6 in the Big 12 with the win.
We just wanted to come out, play hard and get our best players involved, and that is exactly what we did”, Smith said after the game. “Coach felt that we needed to get our adrenaline up, and thought that the full court press was the way to make it happen.”
The Vikings took a 39-24 lead into the halftime locker room, and Eisenhower started the third quarter on a 7-0 run to cut into the Danville lead. From that point on, the Vikings went back to what worked for them in the first half and never was challenged from that point on.
“They clawed back to within eight points, and made us sweat a little bit as we thought they would, and with the way we haven’t been closing games out as of late, we needed to create a little distance between us to give us some comfort,” Houpt said of his team’s intensity in the second half.