CHESAPEAKE — The Valley Indians defeated the Fairland Dragons Saturday night by a score of 53-47 at Chesapeake’s Beasts of the Southeast 2016 basketball tournament. Bryan Rolfe had another monster game of the Indians, driving to the basket with reckless abandon and leading all scorers with 27 points.
The game started out well for Fairland. Center Kollin Van Horn dominated in the first, blocking four shots and altering many more from Valley. Rolfe had all of Valley’s points in the quarter as they were unable to find much slack in the Dragon’s defense. Gunner Short hit two threes in the quarter and put the Dragons up by a score of 13-8 heading into the second quarter.
Van Horn was in foul trouble much of the game, in part, due to his aggressive patrolling of the paint. Rolfe and company constantly tested him inside, refusing to alter their gameplan. It worked out for the Indians, they managed to go on a 7-2 run to start the second and ramp up the tempo to suit their preference. Valley took the lead at one point thanks to their work at the foul line, which would eventually become a bit of a problem later in the game. Going into the half Valley was down 28-27.
The Indians came out absolutely on fire in the third quarter. They went on a 13-0 run to start the period and ended it outscoring the Dragons 17-5. They went into the fourth with a double digit lead of 44-33. Fairland would come back, though, managing an 8-2 run themselves. The Dragons took advantage of a sloppy stretch of basketball on the part of the Indians and cut the lead to five, 48-43, with only 3 minutes left in the game.
Valley’s mission was clear: kill the clock. With three minutes left, they attempted to do just that. However, when it came to sinking their free throws to put the game out of reach the Indians struggled mightily. They shot a meek 6 of 16 from the line in the fourth, which allowed Fairland to stay game. In the end, despite their shoddy free throw shooting, Valley walked out of Chesapeake with the win. They stay undefeated going into a very tough part of their schedule during the upcoming week.
Valley hosts the Waverly Tigers on Tuesday. On Friday they travel to Minford to face the reigning SOC champion Minford Falcons. On Saturday they face the Chesapeake Panthers.
Indian Head Coach Scott Rolfe was pleased with his squad after the win, but knows they have to fix their free throw shooting going forward.
“We knew it was going to be a battle coming into it. They shoot the outside ball well and they have Van Horn inside. We got hurt in the first half not getting back on defense and I think we made that adjustment well in the second. The kids played hard, rebounded well, but they know they have to be better at the foul line. But, to even be in that position to be up six to seven points, that is a product of our defense making plays.”
For Fairland, Kollin Van Horn had 12 points and 5 blocks despite being saddled with foul trouble much of the night. Gunner Short led the Dragons with 14 points.
“We wanted to attack van Horn,” admitted Coach Rolfe. “We knew he is very aggressive on the defensive end. The plan wasn’t to let him block so many shots though,” laughed Rolfe. “Fortunately he picked up his third foul and he had to play limited minutes from there on.”
“It was a great test for us tonight. Our leadership, experience and physical play payed off for us. We have Waverly Tuesday, we are going to focus on them but we have a very tough week ahead. Waverly is on Tuesday, Minford on Friday and Chesapeake Saturday. We have our work cut out for us and we will be tested again next week.”
Valley 8 19 17 9 53
Fairland 13 15 5 14 47
Valley: Rolfe 27, Howard 12, Linne 5, Romenello 3, Brewer 2, Breech 2, Williams 2
Fairland: Short 14, Van Horn 12, Stapleton 6, Howell 6, Thomas 3, Cunningham 2, Staten 2, James 2
Reach Derrick Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @DC__Parker