By Steve Keenan
Abby Buchan erupted for 39 points and the Valley Greyhounds survived a 61-55 overtime thriller over the Oak Hill Red Devils Friday.
In the extra period, the game was knotted at 54-all when Buchan, a junior, hit two free throws with 41.6 seconds left and Gracyn Grubb followed with a single charity toss to make it 57-54. After Oak Hill’s Alyssa Barron trimmed the deficit to two, 57-55, with a foul shot, Buchan canned a deuce with 12.3 seconds left to make it 59-55. Buchan then sealed the victory with a late lay-in.
The contest was played before a standing-room-only crowd in the school’s new, cozy auxiliary gym due to a leaking roof in the main gym. It marked the return of veteran Valley track coach and girls basketball coach Marshall Murray, who is now guiding Oak Hill.
“I was really proud of Abby,” said Murray, who admitted it was tough to coach in the game. “It was just too hard.”
“That might have been one of the most emotional games I’ve ever been involved with,” said Valley assistant coach John Thompson, filling in in the absence of head coach John Hammonds. “I think we wanted it just a little bit more.”
Valley raced to a 12-1 start in the first quarter before Oak Hill got into more of a rhythm. Savannah Keffer hit a 2-pointer to pull the Red Devils to within two, 23-21, at halftime.
“We started out slow but were able to get back in it,” said Murray. “We just had missed layups and turnovers.
“We didn’t shoot particularly well, and our defensive coverage was pretty bad. Abby had a great game.”
Keffer later tied the game at 23-23, but Valley moved into a 29-23 cushion on a Buchan goal.
Oak Hill, playing its third game in as many days, regained the lead at 33-31 on a Keffer deuce, but Buchan tallied four straight points to move the Greyhounds into a 37-34 margin after three periods.
“We had to spread the floor and let Abby drive the middle,” Thompson said.
Keffer hit a 3-pointer to put the visitors ahead 39-37 at the 6:30 mark of the fourth, and Kaitlyn Goodman’s inside bucket made it 41-37 and forced a Valley timeout at 5:22. The break seemed to help, as the ‘Hounds got a deuce from Kelsey Bird to make it 41-39, then Bird took an inbound feed from Emily Beard and converted to knot it at 41-41.
Buchan then canned single free throws on successive trips to the line, followed by a 2-pointer off a drive, to give Valley a 45-41 spread with 1:29 remaining.
With Valley clinging to a 51-49 margin, Goodman scored a 2-pointer in the closing seconds to force the overtime.
Also for VHS, Bird scored eight points, Grubb and Beard tallied five each, and Emily Smallman and Lauren Pleva had two each.
Keffer scored 19 and Goodman 18 for the Red Devils (1-2). Barron chipped in 12. Other scorers were: Caelea Teel, 2; Destini Davis, 2; and Madison Lilly, 2.
In other recent games:
Midland Trail 35
Freshman Kendall Malay scored 20 points and grabbed 20 rebounds Friday to lift the Pirates to their second win in as many days.
Maddie Pritt added 12 points and eight assists, Avina Sedlock scored 10, Kathryn Peelish had 11 rebounds and Kaylee Wood grabbed 10 boards.
Haley Nickell scored 10 points and Jesika Cooper had eight for the Patriots (0-1).
Fayetteville 72, Midland Trail 35
Midland Trail (0-1)
Abby Sevy 1 0-2 2, Haley Nickell 4 1-2 10, Jesika Cooper 0 8-12 8, Devon Nickell 1 0-0 2, Emily Carte 1 0-0 2, Marissa Workman 1 2-8 4, Emily Keeney 0 0-2 0, Madison Syner 3 1-2 7. Totals: 11 12-28 35.
Maddie Pritt 3 6-10 12, Avina Sedlock 4 1-5 10, Kathryn Peelish 1 0-0 2, Kendall Malay 8 3-7 20, Kaitlyn Sisler 2 2-4 7, Hannah Samples 1 0-0 3, Kaylee Wood 3 0-0 6, Faith Norris 1 2-3 4, Jordan Lawhorn 1 0-0 2, Sarah Roehrig 1 0-0 3, Emily Reeves 1 1-2 3. Totals: 26 15-31 72.
MT 10 9 8 8 — 35
F 19 16 26 11 — 72
3-point goals — MT: 1 (H. Nickell); F: 5 (Sedlock, Malay, Sisler, Samples, Roehrig). Fouled out — None.
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