Valley Falls Short Against Van, 57-56
The Van Bulldogs dropped in a basket at the buzzer to lift them to a 57-56 H.I.T. Division I Championship win over the Valley Lumberjacks, Friday, Feb. 12 at RCB High School.
The ‘Jacks Tucker Cain hit teammate Joey Preat in stride for the game’s first bucket, while teammate Dylan Irvin put back a miss to give Valley a 4-0 lead to open the championship game.
The Bulldogs added a deuce and a free throw before Cain went coast-to-coast off a rebound. Alex Midcap swished his first of two freebies from the stripe, while Irvin hit the boards with an offensive put-back off a miss to give Valley a 9-3 lead.
Van scored a pair of two-pointers before Irvin took it hard to the hole for an easy deuce. Cain knocked in a jumper in between a pair of Bulldog baskets, but Van sank a deuce and a three-ball at the horn to give Van a 16-13 lead after one period of exciting boys basketball.
The Bulldogs opened the second period, scoring seven of the game’s next nine points. The ‘Jacks would answer with seven of the next nine points afterwards.
Both teams shot 10 free throws down the stretch, and Van knocked in a deuce at the buzzer to head into the locker room up 32-25.
Preat opened the second half scoring with a rebound put-back. Both teams traded buckets before the Bulldogs sank two straight buckets.
Cain and Midcap scored three straight buckets to pull to within one at 38-37. And after a Van triple, Cain Irvin and Preat closed the period out with buckets to tie things up at 41-41 with eight minutes remaining.
The fourth period was a classic as both teams went right after each other like a heavy-weight boxing match, neither one knocking the other one down until Valley went on top on two straight Preat two-pointers to give the ‘Jacks a 54-50 advantage with just a little over two minutes remaining.
Van countered the knock-down by scoring the next five points, and after a Valley foul to put Van on the line for a one-and-one bonus situation. The Van shooter thought the foul was a little hard and got into a shoving match and a double-technical was called.
Van missed the bonus ball and the Lumberjacks’ Trey Streets would give Valley the lead at 56-55 with .39 seconds remaining.
Both teams missed shots and the Bulldogs had the ball at the Lumberjacks baseline with five seconds remaining. On the throw in, Van raced down the court and put up a 12 footer at the buzzer to get the hard-fought Hometown Invitational Tournament Division I championship.
Cain got the Lumberjacks’ MVP award, while Jarrett Taylor that nailed the game winner got Van’s award. Taylor scored a game-high 22 points.
Cain led the way with 19 points, including a three-ball, while Irvin and Preat scored 14 and 13 points, respectively to lead the Valley team.
In addition, Irvin had a monster game on the boards, hauling in a career-high 24 rebounds, including half of them on the offensive glass. Preat grabbed 10 for a pair of double-doubles. Midcap contributed five markers, while Streets tallied four points, and Levi Streets a free throw.