LUCASVILLE – There’s an old biblical saying, “Enjoy the fruits of your labor.”
As most of us already know, this means that if you work hard enough for something, then nine times out of ten you can relish in the rewards that that hard work you put in gives you.
After several days of working on defense at a high level, the Valley Indians (3-4, 2-3 SOC II) enjoyed the fruits of their labor Friday night in a home win over Northwest (1-6, 0-5 SOC II) by a score of 54-36.
“We gave up 63 to Minford on Tuesday,” said Valley head coach Eric Horton following the Indians’ win Friday night. “I thought we hadn’t been playing very good defense. That was a big stressing point for us the last two days. I thought except for a stretch there in the second quarter where our defense was poor, it was much improved tonight. Anytime you can hold a team to 36 points, you’re doing something pretty good defensively.”
Valley led Northwest by just five points heading into the fourth and final quarter, but down the home stretch, that hard work in practice paid off. In the fourth, the Indians held their opponents to just two points over the final eight minutes to earn a home SOC win.
“The last couple days of practice,” said Valley senior Andrew Shope following the Indians home win on Friday, “We’ve put a lot of focus on our press defense, being able to pressure the ball, that’s what we were looking to do coming into the game, and it paid off for us tonight.”
“The coaches have really been preaching to us about working on our defense since it’s been struggling a little bit,” said junior Kayden Mollette.
Shope and Mollette each scored 12 points in Valley’s home win, a team and game high for the duo.
When Valley was playing excellent defense on Northwest, they needed offensive production to help extend their lead in the final quarter. Shope hit a key corner three, as well as two inside shots to help his team outscore the Mohawks 15-2 in the final period en route to their 18 point win.
“Anytime that you can win, especially in our conference that is extremely competitive top to bottom, it’s huge,” said Horton. “We were able to get Webster last week at their place, and to get Northwest tonight, we’re going into Christmas break 3-4 which is good for us. Five of our first seven games were against teams that played in the district finals last year. It’s nice being right there and will continue to be right there hoping we get a few more wins later in the season.”
Northwest was led in scoring by senior Evan Throckmorton who had nine points, junior Braden Borens who posted eight including one three made, and senior Ashton Hall who had seven for the Mohawks.
Moving forward, Horton says that his team will continue to work and grow from their defensive performance tonight, hoping that carries over next week and into the rest of their conference play after the first of the year.
“The improvement on our defense is the big thing we’re taking away from this, and it is a big work in progress still,” said Horton. “We’re really going to continue to work on that and hoping to continue to bring down the points that other teams are scoring to where we need it to be to win ball games.”
Valley will take on the OVC’s South Point next Friday at the Wendy’s Classic at Portsmouth High School at 7:30 before travelling to Chesapeake next Saturday.
Northwest travels to Oak Hill in two weeks to take on the Oaks in another SOC II contest.
FINAL: Valley beats Northwest 54-36 at home in SOC II play.#PDTSports
— Jacob Smith (@JacobSmithPDT) December 22, 2018
Valley: 14-12-13-15 – 54
Northwest: 8-12-14-2 – 36
Valley: 20 FGs, 6 3pts. (Shope, Mollette 2), 8/12 FTs. Scoring: Shope 12, Mollette 12, Zaler 9, Cunningham 8, Mitchell 6, Ellis 3, Clark 2, Fell 2
Northwest: 14 FGs, 2 3pts. (Hall, Borens 1), 6/15 FTs. Scoring: Throckmorton 9, Borens 8, Hall 7, Hobbs 5, B. Crabtree 2, Emmons 2, C. Crabtree 1
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT