‘We still got work to do:’ Vikings make it to Final Four

Mar 12, 2023

The Wareham Vikings boys basketball team defeated the Cathedral High School Panthers 82-60 in a Round of Eight home game on Friday, March 10, securing the team a spot in the Final Four. 

After the Vikings lost in the Round of Eight last year, Head Coach Steve Faniel is excited to be in the Final Four for the first time in his eight years with the team.

“It was obviously a hurdle,” he said. “To finally get over that hurdle was a little bit of a relief, but the goal wasn’t to make the Final Four. The goal is to make the state championship. We still got work to do.” 

Entering the Final Four for the first time, junior point guard Ajay Lopes feels the same way. 

“Me and my teammates dreamed of being here since we were playing together in the fourth grade,” he said. “It feels amazing doing it with the team I grew up with.” 

Faniel said that a strong defense, plenty of turnovers and some critical 3-pointers led the Vikings to victory over the Panthers.

To Lopes, the highlight of the game was sophomore shooting guard Diego Mello scoring his first in-game dunk. 

“That got us and the whole gym going crazy,” he said. 

Faniel credited his players with the success that the team has had throughout the regular season and the playoffs. 

“They work hard, they’re very talented, they have great chemistry and teamwork,” he said. They share the basketball, they understand their roles.” 

In the first minutes of the game, Cathedral was leading 4-2. That was the only time the Panthers were in the lead all night. 

“We had a little bit of jitters,” Faniel said, “but we settled in pretty nicely.” 

“In the first four minutes, it was neck and neck,” Lopes said, “but we saw what they were trying to do… and we just started to play Wareham basketball.” 

Preparing for the Final Four, Faniel said that he and his team are “preparing to do the little things right.” 

“If we do the little things right,” he said, “the big things will take care of themselves.” 

The Vikings will face the Millbury Woolies at Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School on Wednesday, March 15 at 6 p.m. For tickets, visit gofan.co/app/school/MA14765