The win for the Lady Falcons avenges a six-point loss Minford suffered at the hands of Valley in Lucasville on Dec. 8, 2008.
The win takes Minford to 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the SOC II. The loss drops the Lady Indians to 9-4 overall and 5-3 in the conference.
The Lady Falcons had to cling to a dwindling lead for most of the fourth quarter until with 1:50 left in the contest Whitney Bear hit a 13-foot jumper to give Valley its first lead of the evening. Bear’s shot would be the last points the Lady Indians would manage, committing two costly turnovers late in the contest.
“We had the one-point lead and then had the ball again, down by a point, and we had costly turnovers,” Valley coach Mark Merritt said. “Then we did get the ball in with four seconds left and we had a person open, but Minford was aggressive on the ball and we threw that one away.”
Minford’s Breslyn Harris and Ally Conrad each hit a pair of free throws in the last 1:10 to preserve the win for Minford.
Whitney McManus led the Lady Falcons with 23 points and eight rebounds.
“We got beat in a close game last time and we just came off a tough loss to Oak Hill and I didn’t want to lose another game,” McManus said. “Everyone always says that Minford can’t finish when we get down, so it was good we could finish a game.”
Harris recorded a double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 boards.
Valley was led by Jordan Arbaugh with 15 points and six rebounds. Bear added 11 points for the Valley cause. Kassie Cox finished a point shy of a double-double, scoring nine points and corralling 10 rebounds.
Minford shot 8-for-19 in the opening quarter with McManus scoring the first 10 Minford points. Then Harris took over, hitting two deep balls. The Lady Falcons’ lead was only six at the break despite Valley’s 8-for-26 showing from the floor in the first half.
“We got into too big of a hole early,” Merritt said. “And it was mostly unforced turnovers, bad passes. Minford, the quality team that they are, you just can’t do that.”
In the third quarter, the Minford lead grew to 14 with 2:23 left in the stanza. With 1:30 left Minford was whistled for its seventh team foul and sent Valley to the stripe. Despite an abysmal 2-for-15 showing from the floor in the third quarter Valley was floor in the third quarter Valley was able to chip way at the lead from the free throw line and go into the final period trailing by nine.
A 14-4 run in the final stanza gave Valley its only lead of the ball game. The Lady Indians only held the lead for 40 seconds as Harris erased the one -point lead with a pair of free throws.
“Even though it was only a three-point game it was a good win for us,” Minford coach Mark Chaney said. “We had to come through in a critical situation. It’s going to be good for the girls to be able to come through in a situation like that. We’re looking and gearing up for tournaments.”
Minford hosts Ripley, W.Va. Saturday. Valley travels to Northwest next Thursday.
BRET BEVENS can be reached at (740)-353-3101 ext. 242
Valley 14 8 9 14 — 45
Minford 21 7 12 8 — 48
Valley —Mains 3 2 8, Bear 4 2 11, Cox 3 39, Ellis 1 0 2, Arbaugh 5 5 15; Totals 16 12 45.
Minford — McManus 10 3 23, Donahoe 1 0 3, Conrad 0 4 4, Harris 5 3 16, Boldman 1 0 2.
3-pointers — Valley 1 (Bear); Minford 4 (Harris 3, Donahoe)
Record — Valley 9-4 (5-3); Minford 7-4 (4-3)