By Steve Keenan
Facing a double-digit deficit in the first half, the Valley girls didn’t panic.
The Greyhounds raised their record to 6-0 Friday with the come-from-behind 63-55 victory over the Meadow Bridge Wildcats.
A 7-0 spurt — with Kelsey Bird supplying five points and Abby Buchan the other two — at the outset of the final period gave the Greyhounds the impetus needed for the triumph. Buchan later buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key to hand the visitors a 53-49 margin.
Meadow Bridge responded, though, as Allison Gilkerson scored on a putback to make it 53-52 with 5:55 left, then teammates Chandra Harrah and Sarah Fleshman each provided two points — Harrah on a pair of free throws and Fleshman on a drive — to push the Wildcats back into the lead, 55-53, with 4:47 to play.
The trouble for Meadow Bridge was that Fleshman’s points were the ‘Cats’ last, as Valley stiffened up its defense and reeled off 10 straight points to close out the game.
The first two points came from a putback by Gracyn Grubb which evened the contest at 55-55 with 3:25 to go. After an inbound violation by Meadow Bridge, Buchan canned a free throw to give Valley the lead for good. Alexis Payne followed with a deuce in the lane, making it 58-55 at the 1:01 mark.
Later, Buchan converted a steal into two points on the other end, then she did the same thing with 17.9 seconds left, stretching the margin to 62-55. Finally, Payne ended the run — and the game — with a foul shot with 5.0 seconds left.
“We had turnovers at the wrong time down the stretch,” said Meadow Bridge coach Steve Taylor. “We had taken care of the ball pretty well (earlier), but we had (mistakes) at the wrong time.”
“I didn’t practice the girls over the holidays; I thought they needed a rest,” said Valley coach Richie Cantrell. “We were a little out of condition, but they struggled through the pain.”
Led by the shooting of Harrah, Meadow Bridge built up a 30-17 lead late in the first half. Harrah wound up with a team-high 24 points, including six 3-pointers. Fleshman added 14 and Gilkerson 11.
“They were hitting everything, and they were getting second shots,” Cantrell said of Meadow Bridge’s early efforts. “We didn’t change much, just switched to some pressure tactics.
“We just matched up and put more pressure on the 3-point.”
Valley wound up trimming the deficit to 30-22 at halftime, and Meadow Bridge’s lead had dwindled to four, 47-43, entering the final quarter.
Buchan exploded for a game-high 30 points to pace Valley, while Payne — despite extra defensive attention from the Wildcats — collected 23 points and 17 rebounds.
Valley hosts Sherman at 7 p.m. Thursday and plays at Herbert Hoover on Saturday.
In other recent high school games:
Mountain View 30
Jamie Brown scored 33 points and had 10 steals, two assists and five rebounds in a big road win for Mercer Christian Academy (6-4) over Mountain View Christian.
Kaitlyn Stover had 10 points to pace Mountain View. Other scorers were: Lydia Pennington, 2; Hanna Vickers, 8; Zoe Trevast, 1; and Kaelea Smith, 9.
Rainelle Christian 41
J.J. Easter popped in 24 points and Chandler Scott had 12 to pace the Cavalier boys on Monday in Greenbrier County.
MCA (8-3) took a 30-12 halftime lead.
Cody Kincaid topped Rainelle’s scoring with 23. Jody Van Reenen added 12.
Kelsey Bird 3 0-0 8, Abigail Buchan 11 4-6 30, Gracyn Grubb 1 0-0 2, Alexis Payne 9 3-4 23, Emily Beard 0 0-2 0. Totals: 24 7-12 63.
Meadow Bridge (5-2)
Chandra Harrah 8 2-4 24, Allison Gilkerson 4 1-2 11, Sarah Fleshman 6 2-6 14, Caitlin White 2 2-4 6, Courtney Mullins 0 1-2 1. Totals: 20 8-18 55.
V 15 7 21 20 — 63
MB 20 10 17 8 — 55
3-point goals — V: 6 (Bird 2, Buchan 4); MB: 6 (Harrah 6). Fouled out — none.