The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

February 9, 2013

Vikings fall short in close game

DANVILLE — By now, Danville boys basketball coach Ted Houpt feels as though he is experiencing a real life version of Groundhog Day.

The same cast of characters on his Vikings squad give him outstanding effort game after game, and have come oh, so close to getting over the hump. But it just doesn’t happen.

Houpt knows better than to complain about the skill level of his players, or question their will to win. That would be a waste of time. He realizes the talent, and knows the desire is there. Despite a losing record, he continues to have a full roster of players arrive at practice determined to get better. But that doesn’t mean the Vikings don’t have reason to be discouraged.

Six times this season, Danville has lost a game either in overtime, or by four points or less. The latest was on Friday in a heartbreaker on its home court that saw a comeback against the Decatur MacArthur Generals end in a 64-61 loss.

“It’s hard,” Danville junior center Denzel Smith said. “Every game we go through we play so hard. Every game, it doesn’t ever go our way. It never goes our way. We play so hard. We’re just playing our hearts out.

“I just want to play one game without worrying about (finishing),” he added. “I want to get my guys on the bench (in the game) because they play so hard in practice. I want to get them off the bench and have fun. Just sit on the bench and cheer for my team.”

With three players out of the lineup, including frequent starters Marcus Merriweather and Daniel Carter, Houpt wasn’t sure what to expect against a MacArthur team that had just defeated the Vikings by nine on January 4.

But if he has learned one thing about his team, it’s that regardless of the circumstance, it wouldn’t give up. Danville trailed 32-25 at halftime, but outscored the Generals 36-32 in the second half.

MacArthur went on a 10-3 run and led 44-34 with one minute, 52 seconds remaining in the third quarter. That’s when Danville kicked into another gear and forced MacArthur into six turnovers in the final quarter, and used a 14-5 run to take its first lead since going up 7-4 2:23 into the game.

“Coach told us we weren’t playing as a team,” Smith said. “We were trying to get our own individual buckets in the first half. We decided to come out in the second half and play hard as a team. Our shots came as a team — playing as a team, screening as a team, doing everything as a team. Once we do that as a team, everything falls into place.”

Things were beginning to fall into place, especially for Smith who scored 15 of his game-high 29 points in the second half. And perhaps equally as important was a shot by Devyn McGuire who scored his only points of the game on three with 32 seconds left in the game. The basket pulled the Vikings to within 62-61. And after a missed basket by the Generals, Danville had one more opportunity, but Smith’s jumper with three seconds to go bounced off the rim and into the hands of MacArthur’s Marcus Bartley.

“The guys dug down and fought back and put themselves in a position,” Houpt said. “You’ve got your best player taking a shot that he’s comfortable with for the game. You just have to live with that.

“The last two possessions we had were great. We got Devyn a three-pointer that we knew he could hit. He practices hours and hours on that shot, and he hit it when it counted. And Denzel had a great game and the ball just rolled out. I think everyone on the team can live with that shot. If we had that game again and we’re down by one and you tell me we can have Denzel take a 12-foot, turnaround jumper, I’ll take it every time, and he’ll make it more times.”

After missing his first three shots of the game, Smith made six of his next seven, scoring 12 of the team’s 14 points in the second period. In addition to his 29 points, he finished with 12 rebounds, two assists, and one block. Jarhed Watson scored eight and had four rebounds, Kylen Butler scored seven, had three assists and three steals, and Steven Williams and Te’Von Hutcherson each finished with five.

Danville (4-18 overall, 3-11 in the Big 12 Conference) has three games remaining on the regular season schedule including a home game on Friday against Bloomington. Despite the string of unlucky bounces this season, the Vikings are still determined to finish the season strong.

“You have a choice to be hopeful and push forward, or you can feel sorry for yourself and say it’s not meant to be,” Houpt said. “That’s not how we’re going to do it. We’re going to keep pushing, and that’s why I was so happy in the second half when it looked like we could have thrown in the towel, and we didn’t.

“It’s not easy. It’s not easy for kids, and for grown-ups, to keep positive when you can’t get over the hump. They keep doing it. They keep trying. It’s not going to be a pretty record, but there’s a lot to be said for what the kids have done.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Westville SB 1.jpg Blue Devils run past Tigers

    Bismarck-Henning scored early and often in a win over Westville

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Seeger BB 1.jpg Mustangs get past Patriots

    Senior Tyler DePugh struck out 13 as the Fountain Central Mustangs defeated the Seeger Patriots.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • LOCAL ROUNDUP: Tigers squeeze past Blue Devils

    April 24, 2014

  • Local scores and more

    April 24, 2014

  • SPT - CN0423 - Danville girls track photo 1 Record-setting day for Hall DANVILLE -- Athletes, coaches and fans were all giving advice to Danville sophomore Imani Hall in the high jump. While she appreciated the encouragement, Hall just focused on what she had been doing in practice for the past few weeks and it worked. H

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0423 - Danville baseball photo Vikings no match for Tigers, loss 11-3 DANVILLE -- Urbana came a calling on Danville at Danville Stadium for a Big 12 Conference game with its ace Conner Gremar (Parkland College recruit) on the mound. The Tigers also brought their hitting sticks with them to defeat Danville 11-3. Danvill

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-CN0423 - Seeger softball photo 1 Patriots take over in sixth, beat Mustangs WEST LEBANON, Ind. - Seeger hosted Fountain Central in softball and the lead went back and forth through much of the game. All that changed in the sixth inning when the Patriots sent 11 batters to the plate and scored a half-dozen runs on seven hits

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vikings softball easily cruises past Chargers DANVILLE -- Alissa Peelman overcame a tough start and hit a home run as the Danville softball team beat Champaign Centennial 12-2 in Big 12 conference action on Tuesday. Peelman gave up both of the Chargers' runs in the first inning but only gave up

    April 23, 2014

  • SPT - CN0422 - Salt Fork SB photo secondary Storm cruise past Cornjerkers CATLIN -- On a windy and drizzly afternoon in Catlin, two teams with a combined 16 wins and one loss met up in what seemed to be on paper a heavy weight fight in Vermilion Valley Conference play. The Salt Fork Storm came out of the gates strong and b

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0422 - Local roundup photo LOCAL ROUNDUP: Cox tosses no-hitter for Westville DANVILLE -- Westville right-hander Tanner Cox was in total control on Monday against the Schlarman Academy Hilltoppers at Danville Stadium. Cox tossed a five-inning perfect game, striking out 11 of the 15 batters he faced as the Tigers defeated the H

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

E-edition
NJCAA Tourney Photos 2014


Check out the action at the NJCAA Division II National Men's Basketball Tournament March 18-22 at DACC. Buy photos from the Commercial-News here: http://smu.gs/1iCWKnP

Must Read
AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
NDN Video
Grumpy Cat Not Impressed at "Idol" Is Shaquille O'Neal the World's Best Ex-Athlete? Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 2 BASE Jumpers Set World Record Screaming 2-year-old gets psyched at Penguins game Pineda: Put pine tar because he didn't want to hit anyone Beyonce on Her Biggest Influence Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Clerk catches on fire after man throws Molotov Cocktail into Brooklyn store Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India