BY CHAD DARE
The stay at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament was short for the Danville Vikings.
A day after nearly beating the second-seeded Peoria Manual Rams in the opening round, Danville was eliminated with a 62-32 loss to Oak Park-River Forest on Friday morning.
“It was two completely different days,’’ Danville coach Ted Houpt said. “We weren’t ready to play this morning, and that’s on me.
“My job is to get my team ready to play and prepared for the opponent. I need to figure out a way to do that.’’
Houpt pointed out his Vikings (2-11) were just not emotionally into the contest against the Huskies (9-4).
“I don’t know if it was too early in the morning or what,’’ he said, noting this is just the third time this year he felt his team wasn’t into the game. “This is very disappointing after the way that we did compete in our last two games, against Centennial and Peoria Manual.’’
Danville’s biggest problem in the 9:30 a.m. contest was turnovers. The Vikings committed 31 leading directly to 29 points for the Huskies.
“We really struggled with the full-court press,’’ Houpt said. “We weren’t making good passes, and there were other times when we just didn’t grab the ball when we could have.’’
In addition to the turnover problem, the Vikings were also a dismal 11-of-42 from the field (26.2 percent), while the Huskies shot 36.7 percent.
Oak Park-River Forest, who advances into the consolation semifinals to play Waukegan, had four players score in double digits.
Erik Locke had a game-high 17 points for the Huskies, while Alex Gustafson had 11 followed by Jakari Cammon and Jason Gant with 10 points each.
Three players shared team-high scoring honors for Danville with six points, including senior guard Levonte Nelson along with junior forwards Denzel Smith and Jarhed Watson. For Nelson, the six points was also a season-high.
Danville returns to Big 12 Conference action next Friday with a road contest at Decatur MacArthur.
“We’re going to take a couple of days off,’’ Houpt said. “We are going to use this time to get ourselves refreshed.
“As coaches, we’re going to examine the things we’ve done right and see what things we need to change for the second-half of the season.’’