Men’s Basketball: Vikings shut down rivals, Santa Rosa

It was a big Friday night for Benji Arvizu, who paced the Vikings to a 69-60 conference win at home over rival Santa Rosa.

Arvizu had a game high 18 points, 12 coming in the first half. He also helped on the glass, grabbing a handful of rebounds to even out Santa Rosa’s rebounding edge.

Santa Rosa made it interesting late in the game, going on a 14-2 run that cut the DVC lead down to four. But after two huge threes from Jordan Fillmore, the Vikings never looked back.

Fillmore added 11 points in the second half and finished the game with 17. Gary Pinkney and Dan Daviess pitched in with 10 points a piece.

With the win on Friday, the Vikings moved into third place in the Big 8 conference with a 5-3 record in conference play and 15-9 record overall on the season.

DVC also avenged its earlier loss to Santa Rosa, evening up the season series at 1-1.

“I think this was the biggest game of the year,” said Coach Steve Coccimiglio. “If they had won, they would have owned the tiebreaker against us.”

Had that happened, Santa Rosa could have placed higher then DVC in the final Big 8 standings. According to the rules of selecting teams for the state playoffs, no team can be selected before a team that finished ahead of it in its conference.

“If there was only one spot left in the playoffs, Santa Rosa would have to get in before us,” Coccimiglio said

In control for much of the game, DVC stretched its lead to as much as 16 at halftime. The Vikings bench was key to sustaining the first half lead, Coccimiglio said.

Forward Thaddeus Banks and guard Brandon Thomas were counted on for more minutes then usual after key starters Daviess and Anthony Turner got in foul trouble. Turner was only on the floor for four minutes before he was forced to go to the bench with two fouls.

Daviess played sparingly in the first half with two fouls before picking up his third with a little under six minutes left in the half. He landed his fourth three minutes into the second half.

Both Banks and Thomas finished with four points, but it was what didn’t show up in the box score that helped the team.

Banks was active on the glass, either grabbing or tipping rebounds to teammates, while Thomas shut down the penetration of Santa Rosa’s guards.

“Banks is really active and is probably our best rebounder,” Coccimiglio said, “and Thomas has a knack for making big plays and making big shots.”

The Vikings now travel to Sacramento to take on American River on Tuesday, Feb. 3.