Wareham Vikings named South Coast Champions
The Wareham Vikings took home the gold Friday night and were crowned South Coast Champions after beating New Bedford Voc Tech 67-54.
The high school basketball team ended its regular season far above its conference opponents, 12-2 in the conference and 14-6 overall.
The season got off to a rocky start, as the team lost to several league and non-league teams.
Coach Steven Faniel said the young team had to learn how to perform with each other at the beginning of the season and establish their player roles.
“Every game, you learn something new,” Faniel said Sunday.
After a few losses in the season’s beginning, the team found its rhythm and began to perform. A seven-game winning streak was broken by one loss to Dighton-Rehoboth in early February, but the Vikings have won every game after that.
As of Sunday, the MIAA had Wareham High School ranked as the No. 10 team in Division 4.
For many players, Faniel said Friday night’s championship win was their first taste of league victory.
“We have a pretty young team,” he said. “This is like their first time winning the league championship.”
Wareham has won the championship often before, the coach said, which put pressure on the boys to continue the tradition of winning the league.
The team was also challenged by their physical differences — the Vikings this year are a little smaller than some of their competitors, Faniel said, meaning the team had to learn to play to their strengths.
“We gotta play fast,” he said. “Every team we play is way bigger than us.”
Another of the team’s winning strengths is its depth, Faniel said, as he thought about the 2022 season. The team isn’t just one star player and a bunch of back-up guys — every player contributes, whether that be in shots, rebounds, assists or in the paint.
“On different nights, it’s different guys” making the most impact, Faniel said. “They’re not selfish, they share the basketball. I think it’s really been a team effort.”
With the state championships on the horizon, Faniel said the team is focusing on one game at a time. The plan is to create good player habits that result in better play in the future.
“The good habits will build on themselves,” he said. “That’s really what we’re trying to do.”