BOYS BASKETBALL: Forest Grove pulls away in the fourth quarter for a 16-point win over visiting Hood River
by: Tommy Whitcomb, Forest Grove's Dusty Klein flashes a knowing smile toward the end of Friday's 52-36 victory over Hood River Valley.

With less than two minutes to play on Friday night, Forest Grove started drilling shot after shot to seal a 16-point victory over the visiting Eagles of Hood River Valley in non-conference boys basketball action.

Last year when the two teams met, the Eagles got the best of the Vikings, winning by one point in overtime. This year, the Vikings were on the hunt for redemption, and it came in the form of a 52-36 triumph.

'We needed to get this win, it's going to help us down the stretch … and it got a huge monkey off our back,' said Forest Grove coach Doug Hofmeister after the game.

Forest Grove opened the game on a firing streak from outside the 3-point arc. Strong play inside led to free throw opportunities and what should have been a seven-point lead. But the Vikings missed the hoop on their first five free throw attempts and ended the first quarter up 8-6 over the Eagles.

Senior post Mike VandeBergh led the charge for the Viks to start the second quarter, putting up six points. Junior guard Dusty Klein did his part as well, contributing four of his team-high 16 points in the frame. VandeBergh and Klein carried the majority of the workload, scoring 10 of the team's 12 points in the second quarter as Forest Grove built a 20-13 halftime lead.

'Dusty is becoming one of the best guards I've ever coached,' said Hofmeister.

Opening the second half with the ball, the Vikings were obviously determined and rejuvenated. Senior forward Dylan Sullivan opened the half with a power move inside and got the two points.

Fellow senior post Brock Christensen followed Sullivan's lead with four points off of offensive rebounds.

Sophomore guard Brett Baumgartner got in the action, dropping a 3-pointer and running the baseline to add two more points, bringing the Vikings' lead to seven to end the third quarter.

Coach Hofmeister had this to say about Baumgartner's play: 'He was running the offense well for us, which was great to see.'

Excited fans finally stood up to begin the fourth quarter to cheer their Vikings to victory, as the team began to run like a well-oiled machine. Shots came from every player who could get his hands on the ball and the team went 9 for 12 from the free throw line. Compared to their 3-for-11 clip in the previous three quarters, things were looking up.

Christensen made power-move after power-move inside to get easy baskets or draw fouls. Junior Codey Hills helped out when he found his touch for the first time since the first quarter, scoring four of his six points.

When the final buzzer resounded throughout the Viking Gym, fans cheered and the team celebrated. Simple as it sounds, the win was huge for a team that celebrated only one win last year. The win, according to Hofmeister, will be a big boost to the Vikings as the season progresses.

Forest Grove will have a full week of practices to work on free throws and other fine tuning aspects before they take on North Salem on Dec. 15.

For a detailed recap of the Vikings' week on the hardcourt, be sure to pick up a copy of the Dec. 16 edition of the News-Times.

And for more photos from Friday's game against Hood River Valley (and many more), check out Whitcomb Photography

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