MINFORD – Hot shooting, grind it out defense, and consistent scoring options are what the Minford Falcons used to pick up a home win over Valley Saturday night, 68-60.
“We shot the ball extremely well,” said Falcons head coach Josh Shoemaker following the win Saturday night. “Five threes to start the game, 5/9 going into the half. When you can shoot the ball like that, it makes up for a lot of other deficiencies. Credit to Valley, second half they came out and took it to us, made a ball game out of it.”
To start Saturday night’s contest, it was all Minford, and early. The Falcons jumped out to a 23-11 lead going into the second quarter after starting the game on a 18-6 run, and only extended that lead as the first half continued.
Through the first four minutes of the second quarter, Minford held Valley scoreless and held a 31-11 advantage over the Indians.
The main reason for the Minford lead early was not only the Falcons ability to shoot the ball, but the balance they had when doing so. By game’s end, Minford had all five starters in double figures led by senior Kelton Kelley who finished with a game high 22 points.
“We haven’t had that all year,” said Shoemaker when asked about the balance from his starting five. “I think that was one of the reasons we jumped out to an early lead. We have guys like Kelton and Cam (Dalton) who are going to score a lot of points, but when we have those other guys step up, we’re tough to guard and we become a pretty good ball club.”
The script flipped to begin the second half. Valley began things on a 7-0 run to cut their deficit to ten with five minutes to go in the third quarter. The closest things would get for Valley would be 64-60 with just under thirty seconds to play, but in the end, it was Minford who came away with an eight point home conference win over their neighboring school, and a big part of that was the performance of senior Darius Jordan.
“I though Darius Jordan at the foul line hit two big buckets for us just by us spreading things out, putting the ball in his hands and telling him to go out and win the game” said Shoemaker when asked of his team’s determination to close out a tight game down the stretch. “He did a good job, dealt with a lot of pressure all night. That spurt where they cut things to just two possessions, Darius was able to make a couple of moves there and push the lead back out to ten.”
Valley was led in scoring by Andrew Shope who finished with a team high 18 points.
Minford hosts one of the best teams in Division III on Tuesday, Eastern Pike, in what should be a good measuring stick game for the Falcons as tournament play approaches following the end of the regular season.
“We’re 4-3 since Darius Jordan came back,” said Shoemaker. “So we have a winning record with him back, and I think that’s what we’re going to continue to focus on. Getting through the regular season, getting into tournament playing good ball, and seeing what we can do.”
Valley will be back in action on Friday as the Indians travel to McDermott to face Northwest.
Minford: 23-12-8-25 – 68
Valley:11-7-18-27 – 60
Minford: 21 FG, 6 3PT (Kelley, Vogelsong-Lewis 2), 20/28 FT. Scoring: Kelley 22, McCormick 13, Vogelsong-Lewis 12, Jordan 11, Dalton 10
Valley: 23 FG, 7 3PT (Shope 3), 7/13 FT. Scoring: Shope 18, Mitchell 11, Zaler 10, Cunningham 8, Mollette 8, Ellis 5
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT