ROANOKE, Va. – The Northside Vikings seems to be allergic to losing because as the song says, all they do is win! Led by head coach Bill Pope who is in his 33rd year at the helm, the Vikings are on an incredible win streak -- not only their 18-0 record so far this season but also their string of 46 consecutive regular season games won.
"Everything rises and falls on leadership and without it you can be talented and you're never going to reach as good as you can be, you're never going to achieve some really good things or great things. So I think the leadership is why we're in this position," said Pope.
Northside has welcomed a challenging schedule this year, where it has had some close finishes. But the players agree that senior leadership and consistency has been the glue that keeps it all together.
"Just making sure they know (younger players) what to do on certain things and tell them my advice," said senior Bryce Hall.
"I feel like these guys just do a real good job of listening to us and everything," said senior Julien Wooden.
He's committed to playing for James Madison after graduation and is averaging 19.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
"Sometimes we don't always know what we're talking about but they always just give us a chance and listen to what we have to say."
The window of opportunity has been open for the Northside Vikings as they've made four consecutive State Tournament appearances, including a runners-up bid two seasons ago. Now, as they gear up for another late postseason run, they say the goal remains the same but the approach is a little different.
"The past couple of years the focus has just been on that end goal and not really taking it a game at a time, a day at a time and really just embracing the moment," said senior Kasey Draper.
He's averaging 18.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game and recently eclipsed the 1,000 points mark.
"So, this year that's what we really want to do," Draper said.
"The first thing we have to do is just give ourselves that opportunity. So if we get that next opportunity, we'll do everything we can to take advantage of it," coach Pope said.