Vikings ride big second half to victory

The Diablo Valley College men's basketball team surged in the second half for a come-from-behind 64-54 victory over Solano Thursday night in the featured first-round game of the 25th annual DVC Classic. 

Newark Memorial High graduate Damien Banford, a powerful 6-foot-7, 290-pound post with nifty footwork, led the Vikings with 17 points. 
Diablo Valley (4-2), which has won four straight and held double-digit leads in every game this season, will face Las Positas (4-5) in the winner's bracket semifinals at 8 p.m. Fridaynight. The Hawks beat Sequoias 63-61 in the first round.  
In other first-round games Thursday, Santa Monica (6-1) beat Contra Costa (2-2) 84-77, and Sierra (2-3) defeated defending champion San Jose (2-6) 77-72, setting up a Santa Monica-Sierra winner's bracket semifinal at 6 p.m. Friday. 
The championship game will be at 4 p.m. Saturday. 
DVC sophomores Jacques Carraway (McClymonds) and Reggie Arthur-Mixon (Capitol Christian-Sacramento) did all of their scoring in the team's 46-point second-half uprising, with Arthur-Mixon putting in 14 points and Carraway 11. 
The Vikings trailed 22-18 after a sluggish first half, in which they shot poorly. Solano's lead was up to eight early in the second half, but a blocked shot by Banford and Arthur-Mixon's 3-pointer with 16:31 remaining, the Vikings' first three of the game, appeared to ignite a monster rally. 
"They're really well-coached," an impressed Solano coach Mark Nagle said of DVC. "They have some really nice pieces. We were fortunate in the first half to kind of jump some of the plays, but it just goes to their execution and their patience. They started getting the looks, and the shooting percentage went up." 
A flipped shot by freshman guard Matt Canalin, for his first field goal of the game, cut the deficit to 31-30, and then a 10-0 DVC run, which featured seven points by Arthur-Mixon and four by Carraway, both on turnaround jumpers, put the Vikings ahead to stay, 42-38.  
Four minutes later, back-to-back 3-pointers by Remy Dillard and Canalin upped the lead to 52-45 and triggered another 13-0 run, which proved insurmountable. 
The Vikings turned up the defensive pressure in the second half and seemed to calm down on offense in their season home-opener 
Banford carried the load in the first half with 10 points, and had some excellent sequences in the first five minutes of second half with three baskets, including a making nice fall-away jumper that showcased the ex-football lineman's mobility 
The DVC strategy was to work the bigs inside, which would free up others for looks. The puzzle pieces fit together in the final 20 minutes. 
"We didn't shoot too well in the first half … It was the first home-court game and everybody was excited, our emotions and everything," Arthur-Mixon said. "At halftime everybody just kind of relaxed, including myself. We kept it a team effort and everybody played relaxed, and we ended up pulling it off." 
In Friday's consolation bracket, Contra Costa will meet San Jose at 2 p.m. and Sequoias will face Solano at 4 p.m. The consolation final is 12 p.m. Saturday.
-- Matt Schwab