Vikings overwhelm Tigers in new gym debut

With Del Norte’s Logan Cestone (2), Christian Velasquez (23) and TJ Sanchez in tow, Center senior Devin Porres (21) attacks the hoop. (VC/Jiron)

DEL NORTE — Center boys basketball spoiled the Tiger’s first game in Del Norte’s new gym with an early flurry from beyond the arc to take a 55-38 win on the road.

Center (6-3, 1-0 SPL) entered Saturday’s game going back-and-forth between wins and losses holding a .500 record in their last four games. Del Norte (2-7) entered the weekend affair in need of a win dropping two games in a row before hosting Center.

Del Norte kept pace with Center in the early going of Saturday’s game chasing the Vikings to a 10-8 deficit. Center broke the game open with a combination of three-pointers. First a pair from Victor Almeida, then one from Habran De La Cruz, Almeida closed the first quarter with a third to catapult the Vikings ahead 22-8. Almeida finished with 11 points in the win.

The second quarter began with 9 more unanswered points from the visitors and Center extended their lead to 31-8. A 6-4 exchange that saw the two teams combine for 6 visits to the free-throw line, closed out the half with Center ahead 37-12. The Vikings ended the first half shooting exactly 50 percent according to preliminary stats.

Back from the break, the Vikings picked up right where they left off. Following a basket from Del Norte’s Marcos Romero, Center collected an unanswered 8 points to start the second half staying in control to the tune of 51-17 to start the final chapter. Center’s Jesus Miranda began the fourth quarter with a free throw to trigger a running clock.

Del Norte closed the game with a scoring blitz putting up 16 points in the final minutes to close the gap before regulation. Devin Porres was Center’s leading scorer, banking 16 points in the win. Del Norte was led in scoring by Leroy Trujillo who collected 11 points on Saturday.

The win has Center tied for the second-best overall record in the Southern Peaks League (SPL) with Sanford (6-3, 1-0 SPL). Both Center and Sanford trail Crested Butte (7-1).

The Vikings will go home for a game with Sanford Friday, Jan. 24th. Del Norte will also stay home to take on Sargent (3-6, 1-1 SPL) in what could be a competitive game, before going on the road until mid-February.

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