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Jay Scheel draws a foul from Max Kearns in the second half.

On Monday, the Vinton-Shellsburg basketball team will travel to the place where they last lost a high school basketball game, hoping to get to the State Tournament for the second time in Vinton-Shellsburg history, and the first time since 1996.

The Vikings struggled early Friday night in their District final in the Benton Community gym, as Union poured in seven 3-pointers in the first half, and kept the basketball game close throughout three quarters.

But the Vikings led the entire game and held the Knights to just 14 second-half points to defeat Union, 56-45, and advance to Monday's Sub-State game. At half-time, the Vikes maintained a 34-31 edge.

Offensively, the Vikings slowed down the pace and scored 15 points fewer than their average of more than 70 per game. The offensive play was balanced, with four Vikings in double digits. Kelyn Rickels led his team with 15; Max Kearns, Max Griffith and Grant Sagan also recorded double digits for the Vikes. Sagan had 12 points and 12 rebounds; Kearns 14 point and six assists.

See complete stats HERE.

The Vikings will face Crestwood Monday, Feb. 25, at 8 p.m. at the McLeod Center on the UNI campus in Cedar Falls. The Vikings' last loss was just under a year ago at the McLeod Center, where Western Dubuque defeated them on Feb. 27, 2012, to advance to the State Tournament. The Bobcats, now playing in Class 4A, eventually lost the State Championship Game to Mount Pleasant, in overtime.

This year, the top-ranked Vikings will face Crestwood, which was ranked in the Top 10 in Class 3A in January before suffering five losses. Crestwood defeated Decorah Thursday night in their District finale.

"They are a lot like us. It should be a good match-up," said Viking Coach Joe Johnson.

Johnson credited Union for its play on both offense and defense, but said the Vikings lacked intensity on defense, especially in the first half.



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