By Steve wilaj
For all of their talent and experience, LaBrae High boys basketball coach Chad Kiser said the Vikings have struggled with one thing all season — their intensity.
“I think it’s just a matter of bringing it every single night,” Kiser said. “And that’s what we haven’t done this year.”
Friday at Campbell, it’s safe to say the Vikings brought it.
Behind a total team effort, LaBrae defeated the Red Devils 84-46, improving to 10-3.
“We had better intensity and focus throughout the game in all four quarters,” said Kiser, whose Vikings were coming off a loss to West Middlesex. “Last game we got off to a slow start. But just playing four quarters — that’s our key.”
LaBrae entered with a record of 2-3 over its past five games. And while Kiser said he understands his team had tough matchups (Poland, Brookfield), he wasn’t entirely pleased with the Vikings effort.
“They were not poor teams, but it’s just a matter of we don’t match their intensity for four quarters,” he said. “It’s easy when you’re up big to keep going. It’s not as hard. But when we’re in those games when every possession counts, we have to have our focus mentally and that intensity I keep talking about.”
LaBrae’s intensity was apparent from the beginning, as it outscored Campbell 46-19 in the first half.
“We did a lot better job of that tonight,” said LaBrae’s John Richards of the Vikings’ effort. “A lot more rebounds and boxing our guy out. Plus we’ve been doing a lot more of that this past week in practice — focusing on that — and it really helped out tonight.”
Richards and Peyton Aldridge led LaBrae with 20 points each, while Aldridge also grabbed 13 rebounds. But it was an all-around effort for the Vikings, who had 10 players reach the scoring column.
“I’m very pleased with it and that’s what we need to do going forward,” Kiser said. “When we bring the next guy off the bench, they need to be ready to go.”
Richards added that LaBrae must also find a way to play with high intensity the rest of the season.
“We just have to play hard and share the ball,” he said. “Make sure we have a lot of defensive stops and it should carry over.”
Edgar Toledo scored a team-high 11 points for Campbell (4-11), while George Billiris added 10.
Red Devils coach Mike Szenborn said he was “a little disappointed” in his team’s effort.
“We’re getting better as the year goes on, but it’s just some mental lapses at crucial times,” Szenborn said. “We’re a young team and have a bright future ahead of us, but we just need to learn how to put four solid quarters together and play hard for 32 minutes.”