Runnin’ Vikings want to turn it loose at the Big Bend Classic

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Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin Herald Big Bend sophomore Koby Huerta, who was the Under Armour Player of the Week in Week 1 of the NWAC season, will lead the Runnin' Vikings into the Big Bend Classic Friday and Saturday at DeVries Activity Center.

MOSES LAKE — They roll into this weekend weekend’s Big Bend Classic at DeVries Activity Center riding high, having opened the NWAC season winning four of the first five games.

The Runnin’ Vikings (4-1) will host Grays Harbor (3-3 ) in Friday night’s 7 p.m. game and Fairchild Air Force Base at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Wenatchee Valley (5-1) brings a once-beaten record to the table, playing Fairchild at 5 p.m. Friday and Grays Harbor at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

“We’re playing pretty well right now considering we’ve been without a couple of guys,” Vikings coach Mingo Scott said. “Denis Ulyanchuk has been out with a strained meniscus. He’s never had an injury of any kind, but I thought it’d be better to keep him out and have him ready when league starts Jan. 2.

“We’re also without Mauricio Smith because of grades, so we’ve been riding along with Koby Huerta (so., 5-10, point guard), Joey Andrews (so., 6-5 guard) and Miles Brown (so., 6-8, post) and seeing what the other guys can do. Seraphin (Decker’s) been giving us 14-15 a night like he did at the other school before transferring, so we’ll get a little extra firepower back after the first of the year.”

Huerta’s already made his mark as the NWAC Under Armour Men’s Basketball Athlete of the Week for Week 1 at the Skagit Tournament to open the season. The sophomore from Covington averaged 23.5 points and 8 rebounds per game to go with 6 assists to help lift the Vikings to three wins at the Skagit Valley Tournament.

“Koby’s the guy that makes things go,” Scott said. “He’s a natural point guard, but he’s such great shooter that I’ve been bringing in Serph to run the point and move Koby over to the shooting guard. He can shoot the 3, hit the pull up jumper, and finish at the rim.

“He’s so small and quick that if you don’t come out to cover him (on the perimeter), he’ll knock down the 3. Then if you do, he can blow right by to the rim. It’s been working well moving him back and forth.”

The Runnin’ Vikings won’t be back in town until the Alumni game Dec. 29. They host North Idaho on Jan. 2. to open the NWAC East schedule.

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