It’s pretty simple, Joe McCoy says.
“We’ve just got to play some games,” the Valley High boys coach said after his team withstood a stiff challenge Tuesday from Meadow Bridge and rallied in the second half for a 70-55 victory. “You practice 21 days, play two games, don’t play for three weeks, play another game, …”
The triumph, Valley’s fourth in as many tries, was just the second outing since Dec. 18. “We’ve just got to get in basketball shape,” McCoy reiterated.
The rust showed in the first half, as Valley was ragged and made just 10 of 32 field goal attempts, with several of the misfires occurring from beyond the 3-point arc.
Meanwhile, Meadow Bridge was taking advantage of Logan Pomeroy’s 11-point effort in the first half, which included a trio of 3-pointers, to keep the pressure on its hosts. Trailing 15-11, the Wildcats went on an 8-0 surge at the end of the first period and carrying over in the second. Kaleb Farr scored an inside bucket, Pomeroy buried a three from the left corner, and Cody White scored the next three points to hand Meadow Bridge a 19-15 lead with 5:46 left.
The Meadow Bridge margin remained four points, 31-27, at intermission.
As the game progressed, though, the shot that gave Valley fits in the first half gave its opponent fits in the second half.
The Greyhounds found their groove in the final two quarters, connecting with more accuracy on some long-range shots and opening up their offense. Henry Barron sank the first long-range goal, a 3-pointer that tied the game at 42 with 2:05 left. That triggered a 10-0 spurt to close the third quarter and give the ’Hounds some breathing room. The run also featured an inside bucket by Raeshawn Breckenridge, a putback by Zac Warden and a trey by Keyshawn Payne off a Barron assist, the latter leaving the score at 49-42 with a quarter to go.
“We didn’t move like we needed to,” said Meadow Bridge coach Mark Gladwell. “They knocked down some shots they needed.
“When they got good ball movement, it was hard for us to rotate (on perimeter defense).”
The Valley lead ballooned to 13, 56-43, on a strong inside move by Breckenridge at the 5:34 mark. The ‘Cats pulled to within 56-48 midway through the fourth on two Pomeroy free throws, but they then missed three straight charity tosses — including two following a Valley technical — and Warden’s drive to the hole resulted in two points and a 58-48 Valley lead that proved to be too much to overcome.
“They (three-pointers) can make or break you,” said McCoy. “In the first half, we just couldn’t shoot, then we made a few shots. If you hit a couple of outside shots, that opens things up inside.”
“We competed the whole way,” said Gladwell. “My guys played hard.
“But we’re not satisfied with the outcome. We had lapses in execution.”
Breckenridge, who sat out most of the second quarter after an on-court collision, finished strong for Valley, tallying nine points in the final period and 20 for the game, in addition to six rebounds and four steals. Warden tossed in 14 points, grabbed six boards and blocked three shots, and Cody Winter scored 12 in a solid reserve role.
Pomeroy netted a game-high 23 for Meadow Bridge, Farr added 15 points and eight rebounds, and White had eight points and 12 boards. Cole Porter scored seven points — all in the first half — and Gladwell said his absence for periods of time due to foul trouble hindered the Wildcats.
In the junior varsity game, Valley earned a 38-34 decision.
Spencer Armentrout scored 11 and Joseph Eckert 10 to pace Valley. Other scorers were: Aaron Liddle, 4; Kyler Smith, 2; Nick Morrison, 2; Alex Williams, 4; and Jaden Bess, 5.
Craig Peters scored eight to pace Meadow Bridge. Others in the scoring column were: David Gainer, 4; Dakota Clere, 2; Kyle Judy, 3; Trey Yates, 4; Page Walker, 2; Dylan Walker, 2; Peyton Richmond, 2; Logan Crowe, 3; and Brian Farley, 3.
Meadow Bridge (3-3) hosts Greenbrier West at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
In other recent games:
It’s pretty simple, Joe McCoy says.
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