LUCASVILLE — The young Valley Indians, amid a brutal December schedule, have had some shining moments against some of Southeast Ohio’s top Division III clubs.
But, they’re also on an expected learning curve under new head coach Norm Persin — and Tuesday night’s non-league home tilt against Adena wasn’t any different.
This time, it was a pair of single-point periods which did the Indians in —as the senior-heavy and visiting Warriors won 63-44 on The Reservation.
Adena, with its only loss against Worthington Christian, climbed to 5-1 —and is expected to compete for the Scioto Valley Conference championship.
The Indians are now 2-3 — with their other two losses being close contests at Piketon (52-50) and defending Southern Ohio Conference Division II champion Wheelersburg (65-60).
Both of those squads are overly-experienced as well — as Valley’s true nucleus consists of a junior, a pair of freshmen and several sophomores.
Against Adena, the Indians’ inability to keep the tall and long Warriors off the boards — and some second-quarter turnovers turned transition points — put Valley into a 36-22 halftime hole.
In the opening 11 minutes and two seconds of the second half, the Indians kept within striking distance at eight points six times (40-32, 42-34, 44-36, 46-38, 48-40 and 50-42), but nine unanswered by the Warriors over two minutes and 24 seconds of the fourth put the contest out of reach.
“We got it to eight, then they get two offensive rebounds and stick one in. We came back down and scored, but then they do the same thing again. Once they got it to 10, we ran out of making buckets and hit a cold spell. The lead went to 12 to 15 to 17 and that’s pretty much the game,” said Persin.
The Indians also struggled to match up well with Adena seniors Logan Bennett and Preston Sykes, who combined for all but 20 of the Warriors’ 63 points.
The six-foot, five-inch and lanky Bennett bucketed 25 points on a dozen field goals, including canning a first-quarter three-pointer for a 7-7 tie —the second of four deadlocks which all occurred in the opening quarter.
Bennett bagged 17 first-half points on eight field goals, with 11 coming in the first period — including the final four points which gave the Warriors the lead for good.
The 6-2 Sykes amounted 18 on eight field goals and 1-of-3 free throws, as he too tallied a three-pointer —at the 2:08 mark of the second stanza that staked Adena’s first double-digit lead.
Sykes scored 16 of his 18 after the first frame, as his final field goal gave the Warriors their largest lead with the final score.
Adena’s other three scorers on Tuesday —Dillon McDonald with nine points on four field goals, Nate Throckmorton with six points on three deuces, and Jarrett Garrison with five points on a deuce and a trey —threw a wrench into the Indians’ scouting report.
McDonald’s three-ball gave the Warriors their first lead at 14-13, as Garrison got a right-wing triple to swish for the 36-22 advantage with six seconds showing in the half.
“They have two wonderful players in Bennett and Sykes, and then the rest of their guys…we knew we would be in deep trouble if the rest of their kids played the way they did tonight and shot the ball extremely well. Give them credit, they are a great team,” said Persin.
The Indians, though, didn’t back down early on —or even over the majority of the second half.
Ty Perkins and Bryce Stuart scored once and assisted each other on the opening two baskets, building Valley’s largest lead at 4-0 just a minute and 17 seconds in.
Freshman Jace Copley drained a trifecta for a 7-4 Indian edge only 51 seconds later, and Perkins —who paced Valley with 16 points on seven total field goals —popped the first of his two triples to make it 16-14 at the tw0-minute mark of the first quarter.
But an 8-0 Adena run over the next 3:45 put the Indians’ eight-ball at 22-16, and Stuart sinking a three-ball on the next Valley possession put it within as close as it would get the remainder of the way.
The Indians’ only other second-period points were a split of Copley free throws at the 2:23 mark, and an Arnett rebound putback with 51 seconds left.
“We played as well as we could play in that first quarter, and we were down two (18-16). We had three backcuts for layups, we hit a three, we got on the boards, we got out in transition. But before you know it, it didn’t matter what they did,” said Persin. “They are just so athletic and have so much speed.”
That speed and athleticism allowed Adena to take over, pretty much, the game’s final 26 minutes.
The Indians’ eight fourth-period points came courtesy of three baskets in the opening 182 seconds, before Jacob Greathouse hit a pair of free throws for their final markers with two minutes to play.
Stuart and Arnett, on four field goals apiece, followed Perkins with nine points each —as Arnett’s old-fashioned three-point play made it 36-25 only 42 seconds into the third quarter.
Greathouse in the fourth and Colton Buckle in the third also had two-point goals.
Indeed, although never liking in the least to lose, the legendary Persin is quite positive about his Indians of the future.
“We’re young, but our schedule has been brutal so far. Our three losses are to three really good senior-laden Division III teams. Our kids have to learn that we have to get better, he said. “And sometimes, when you play teams like this, somewhere along the line if you keep your composure, you will get better.”
Valley’s next chance to get better is right back at The Reservation — on Friday night in the Southern Ohio Conference Division II against Eastern.
Adena 18 18 10 17— 63
Valley 16 6 14 8 — 44
ADENA 63 (5-1)
Nate Throckmorton 3 0-0 6, Dillon McDonald 4 0-0 9, Jarrett Garrison 2 0-0 5, Davis Kerns 0 0-0 0, Logan Bennett 12 0-1 25, Preston Sykes 8 1-3 18, Jacob Shipley 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 29 1-4 63; Three-point field goals: 4 (Dillon McDonald, Jarrett Garrison, Logan Bennett, Preston Sykes 1 apiece)
VALLEY 44 (2-3)
George Arnett 4 1-1 9, Jace Copley 1 1-2 4, Ty Perkins 7 0-3 16, Dylan Ellis 0 0-0 0, Carter Nickel 0 0-0 0, Colt Buckle 1 0-0 2, Jacob Greathouse 1 2-2 4, Bryce Stuart 4 0-0 9; TOTALS 18 4-8 44; Three-point field goals: 4 (Ty Perkins 2, Jace Copley and Bryce Stuart 1 apiece)
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved