The Northeast Vikings pulled away late from a pesky Marmaton Valley team to post a 60-43 victory Tuesday night in opening round play of the Class 2A sub-state playoffs.



Northeast (17-4) is seeded third in the eight-team Uniontown bracket, and will face the Uniontown-West Elk winner Friday night in the semifinals.

The Northeast Vikings pulled away late from a pesky Marmaton Valley team to post a 60-43 victory Tuesday night in opening round play of the Class 2A sub-state playoffs.

Northeast (17-4) is seeded third in the eight-team Uniontown bracket, and will face the Uniontown-West Elk winner Friday night in the semifinals.

The Vikings overcame a dismal shooting night and, despite leading by as many as 15 in the third quarter, but didn’t put the game away until an 11-3 closing run.

“We missed a ton of layups tonight,” said Northeast coach Matt Hiatt. “Those are shots that normally go in for us. I think we were something like seven for 18 inside in the paint in the first half.”

The Vikings got 15 points from senior Jon Baker and 13 from sophomore J.T. Richardson in a balanced scoring attack. They also controlled the boards, and forced 23 Marmaton Valley turnovers in game that saw six early lead changes.

Northeast took the lead for good at 18-16 with 3:00 left in the first half on a three-pointer by freshman Antonio Slingluff, and went up 23-18 at halftime. The Vikings dominated early in the third quarter, converting some easy buckets by breaking the Wildcat press to build a 45-30 lead.

“I thought our kids did a good job of grinding away at it, even though the shots weren’t falling,” Hiatt said. “We were able to get some put-backs and stay after them until some things went our way.”

Northeast center Chase Cleland finished with 12 points and battled through an eye injury suffered late in the first half. His three-point play at the 5:35 mark of the third quarter gave Northeast its biggest lead of the game before the closing minutes at 45-30.

Marmaton got as close as 10 midway through the fourth quarter, at 49-39, before the Vikings reeled off nine straight and put the game away.

Richardson scored six of his 13 points in the third quarter, and Baker had a string of buckets down the stretch to negate any chance of a Wildcat comeback.

The win marks the third this season over Marmaton Valley for the Vikings. They beat the Wildcats 54-23 on Feb. 7.

“It’s always hard to beat a team the third time, but I don’t see any way that our kids aren’t switched on now,” Hiatt said. “We’ll need to play much better Friday to compete against what will likely be a better team in the second round.”

Marmaton, 7-14, played without starting center Nathan Smart most of the night. Zachary Louk led the Wildcats with 16 points, while Levi Ramsey added 12 off the bench.

Northeast boys 60, Marmaton Valley 43
NORTHEAST (60) — John Baker 6 3-4 15, Chase Cleland 5 2-4 12, J.T. Richardson 5 2-5 13, Noah Popejoy 3 1-1 7, Cody McCloud 2 1-1 5, Antonio Slingluff 1 0-0 3, Seth Chandler 1 0-0 3, Cole Robinson 0 2-2 2. Totals: 21 13-17 60.
MARMATON VALLEY (43) — Zachary Louk 7 0-3 16, Levi Ramsey 5 2-5 12, Derrick Carr 2 0-0 5, Cole Becker 1 0-0 3, Nathan Smart 1 0-0 2, Lucas Hamlin 1 0-1 2, Chance Stevenson 1 0-0 2, Ryan Smith 0 1-2 1. Totals: 18 3-11 43.