Men’s Basketball: Big Sky Tournament
The Viks made a good run in Boise in the Big Sky championships, making it to the semifinals and upsetting #2 seed Southern Utah. The Viks beat Idaho State for the third time this season in the first round, 66-52. Khalid Thomas put up 17 points on the Bengals, with three three-pointers. Ezekiel Alley had a three-pointer and 15 points. Michael Carter III had 3 steals and 10 points for the Viks. Marlon Ruffin went 4-7, with two steals and eight points. Despite the low-scoring 66 points, the Viks held the Bengals to 52 points—the lowest points the Viks have allowed from another Division I opponent. The Viks maintained a nine-point lead throughout the last eight minutes of the game, securing the win.
#2 seed Southern Utah was next on the list. Seeding did not scare the Vikings—they had an explosive start, leading at the half 35-20. Seven rebounds and 20 points came from Thomas, who led the team in scoring. Carter III came up with 13 points. Ian Burke showed out with three steals and 10 points. Mikal Starks and Hayden Curtiss both put nine points on the board for the Viks. Alley and Damion Squire put eight points on the board. The Viks had an 81% free throw percentage, going 17-21. The Viks made 13 points off turnovers and 14 points off fast breaks against the Thunderbirds. Portland State did not give Southern Utah the lead at all throughout the whole game—tying only once—when the score was 2-2. The Viks upset the Birds with an impressive 77-65 statement win over a team they did not beat in the regular season.
The semifinal was the hardest game for the Viks, losing to Northern Colorado and Daylen Kountz. The Viks suppressed the Bears’ high-scorer in the first half, leading 40-32 in the half. Carter III led the team in points with 22, and also led with four steals. 14 points came from Squire, along with three steals and two three-pointers. Thomas put up 13 points and six rebounds. Ruffin went 6-10 on the free throw line and got 12 points. Alley came up with six rebounds and 11 points. The Bears’ Daylen Kountz got hot in the second half. Four three-pointers and 36 points came from Kountz—more than twice the amount of the Bears’ second-leading scorer who had 17. With foul trouble, and even a technical foul by Carter III, the Bears came back and won 86-79. The Bears went on to lose to Montana State, a team that has now punched their ticket for March Madness.
Women’s Basketball: Big Sky Tournament
The women’s squad showed up in Boise the day before the men’s to play Idaho in the first round of the tournament. Rhema Ogele put up her career-high 23 points in her 22 minutes of play. She had nine rebounds and shot 9-12. Esmeralda Morales put up 11 points with a three-pointer. Six points came from Savannah Dhaliwal with five rebounds and a steal. The Viks lost to the Vandals 75-52, finishing their season 5-24.
Track: NCAA D-I Indoor National Championships
Katie Camarena was the only Viking in Birmingham, Alabama for the NCAA D-I Indoor National Championships. She finished ninth out of 13 in the women’s 3k, with a time of 9:09.43. She also won the NCAA D-I second team All-American. Next up for the track team is the outdoor season, starting at the Lewis & Clark Spring Break Open on March 19.
Softball: Top 25 win over OSU
The Viks traveled to Eugene, Oregon to play North Dakota State and their in-state rivals, #11 Oregon and #24 Oregon State. The Viks won against North Dakota State, 2-0 in nine innings. Olivia Grey pitched the whole nine innings, allowing five hits and no runs with no errors. She also had a high 15 strikeouts for the Viks. In the ninth inning, Olivia Dean—on a sacrifice bunt and advance to second on an error—allowed Maddie Thompson to come home on an unearned run. The Viks got their first run of the game. Dean scored unearned after Emily Johansen on a sacrifice bunt. Grey finished the job, striking out the last two and a groundout to second base. Grey is now 9-1 for the season.
Another challenge for the Vikings was #11 Oregon Ducks. The Ducks scored early with three quick runs at the bottom of the first inning. Another three runs came in the second inning, giving the Ducks a six-point lead. The Viks were shut out by the Ducks, losing 7-0. Four hits came from the Viks compared to the Ducks’ 11. Thompson went 2-3 in hitting.
The Viks played the #24 Beavers and wasted no time scoring, with four runs in the first inning for Portland State. With a flyout by Paetynn Lopez, Dean ran to third and Thompson scored. Johansen singled in the middle and Dean scored. Alexa Cepeda doubled to right center and got two RBIs, bringing Logan Riggenbach and Johansen home—for 4-0 Vikings. The Beavers attempt to make noise in the second, but only get one run. The Vikings never said they were done scoring, as Johansen doubled to right field and Dean traveled to third while Thompson came home unearned. Riggenbach grounded out to second base and got an RBI with Dean coming home. Gray was 10-1, allowing six hits and one run from a top 25 school. That top 25 school, Oregon State, also had two errors. Thompson went 1-3 with two runs. Johansen went 3-4 with one run and two RBI. Dean went 2-4 with two runs.
The Viks played the Beavers again, making it a close one through five innings and a score of 0-0. Ellie Babbitt reached on an error by the pitcher, Johansen advanced to second and Dean scored. That would be the only run from the Viks when OSU scored nine at the bottom of the same inning to win 9-1 in the sixth.
Men’s Tennis: 4-3 win over Eastern Washington
The Viks won in a thriller against their Pacific Northwest rivals, Eastern Washington 4-3. Oliver Richards and Nils Plutat fell 6-3 in doubles. Otto Holtari and Andrew Vu fell 6-3 to the Eagles. The match between Sam De Vries and Tommy Hsu against the Eagles went unfinished. In singles, Plutat won 6-4, 6(5)-7(7), 7-5. Richards won 6-2, 7-5. Holtari fell 6-2, 6-4. Hsu won 6-3, 6-2. De Vries won 6-1, 6-3. Vu fell 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.
The Viks also hosted Montana State the next day, but lost 5-2 overall. Plutat and Richards fell 6-2 in doubles. De Vries and Hsu fell 5-1. Holtari and Vu fell 6-2. Plutat won 1-6, 6-4, 6-4. Hsu fell 2-6, 4-6. Richards fell 3-6, 5-6. De Vries won 4-6, 6-4, 7(7)-6(5). Holtari fell 2-6, 0-6. Vu fell 2-6, 2-6.
Women’s Tennis: Montana State
Portland State lost in conference to Montana State in a close 4-3 game at home. Capu Sanoner and Nika Beukers won in their doubles match 6-2. Makoto Ohara and Jacinta Milenkoski won 6-3 in their match. Majo Hernandez and Emily Rees won their match 6-4 to sweep the Bobcats in doubles. Hernandez won 6-3, 6-1 in her singles match. Rees fell 6-1, 6-3 in her match. Sanoner won 6-3, 6-2. Milenkoski fell 6-4, 7-5. Ohara fell 0-6, 6-3, 7(7)-6(2). Beukers fell 7(10)-6(8), 6-3, 6-3.
Football: Spring Ball
The Viks headed back to Hillsboro Stadium for the return of the annual spring ball game. During this time, the Viks looked for a new starting quarterback as the former quarterback, senior Davis Alexander, goes pro in the Canadian Football League for the Montreal Alouettes. Dante Chachere, Jaden Casey, Nathan West and Caden Filer look to step up to lead the Vikings to a potential playoff spot after having a chance last year, beating #24 Weber State. Running back Jobi Malari, coming back from an injury last year, had 61 yards for six carries and a 45-yard touchdown near the end of the game. David Joseph got an interception that came and VJ Malo forced a fumble on Casey. The Viks continue to practice and get ready for their season-opener away at San Jose State and University of Washington.