LUCASVILLE — The Valley Indians, in Tuesday night’s 74-45 non-league win over visiting Paint Valley, were just downright efficient.
While shooting a highly respectable 32-of-58 from the field, including 27-of-41 from inside the three-point line (65.9-percent), the Indians posted a season-high point total in their first win at “The Reservation” since Dec. 29 after a coronavirus quarantine.
Valley’s defense, which held Paint Valley to 32-percent from the floor and forced 18 Bearcat turnovers, really got itself going in the second period.
After a buzzer-beating layup at the tail-end of the first period cut their lead to two, the Indians’ offense exploded and their defense wreaked havoc — outscoring the Bearcats 25-2 and setting themselves up with a 25-point halftime cushion.
Valley coach Norm Persin said following the win that his team’s successes on Tuesday were a result of limiting their opponents’ ability to get set up in a half-court offense.
“We got in the passing lanes, had a lot of deflections when their guys were trying to get to the rim. We were able to swallow things up, get loose balls and get out and run — and we had a lot of layups in transition,” Persin said. “At the same time, when they were getting back in their halfcourt defense — it didn’t matter if it was man or zone — we were finding the open man on the baseline.”
Valley also matched Paint Valley’s physicality on the glass — outrebounding their guests in Lucasville by a 34-25 margin.
Junior Bryce Stuart and sophomore Ty Perkins each accounted for a team-high seven rebounds, while freshman guard Jace Copley grabbed six.
“We knew that they were going to be a big, physical basketball team that has some nice pieces. We just challenged our kids — I thought we were more physical tonight,” Persin said.”Diving on the floor, and we did a nice job rebounding which has been one of our Achilles heels’ lately.”
Stuart led all scorers with a game-high 28 points, shooting an extremely efficient 13-of-19 from the floor while also dishing five assists.
On Stuart’s big night, Persin said it was a by-product of his ability to get to the rim, and more importantly, finish.
“He (Stuart) can shoot the ball, from 15 or three feet,” Persin said. “But he’s the most dangerous kid when he can get to the rim and he really started doing that tonight. Getting to the rim in transition, in our half-court set — I thought we as a team executed really well.”
Sophomores George Arnett and Colt Buckle each scored 13 points in the Indians’ win, Buckle doing so with 11 of his 13 coming in the second quarter in his reserve role.
With the win, the Indians improve to 6-7 — and to 2-2 since their return to play in mid-January.
With a pair of SOC II road games coming up this weekend — trips to face Eastern on Friday night and Oak Hill on Saturday — the Indians will seek to do something that’s eluded them thus far in the 2020-21 season: win back-to-back games.
If there was ever a time to go streaking, late January and early February seems as good of a time as any.
Persin said the message to the Indians after the win remains the same — how consistency can take you a long way.
“We’re telling the kids all the time, it’s about consistency. You come off a nice win, alright it’s over with — what are you going to do on Friday and Saturday?,” Persin said. “You’ve got to be just as consistent and you’ve got to want it right now, this being a key time of the year.”
Paint Valley 18 2 18 7 — 45
Valley 20 25 16 13 — 74
PAINT VALLEY 45 (6-11)
Cordell Grubb 5 0-0 13, Tramel Byrd 2 0-0 4, Trent Mettler 1 0-0 3, Traeden Jeffers 2 0-0 5, Cole Miller 1 3-4 6, Blaine Parker 1 0-0 2, Dax Estep 3 2-3 9, Adam Brauner 0 0-0 0, Connor Free 1 0-0 3, Brock Blanton 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 16 5-7 45; Three-point field goals: 8 (Cordell Grubb 3, Trent Mettler, Traeden Jeffers, Cole Miller, Dax Estep and Connor Free 1 apiece)
VALLEY 74 (6-7)
George Arnett 4 4-4 13, Jace Copley 4 0-0 9, Ty Perkins 3 0-0 6, Carter Nickel 1 0-2 2, Cody Metzler 0 0-0 0, Colt Buckle 6 0-0 13, Blake Wood 0 0-0 0, Tucker Merritt 1 0-0 3, Bryce Stuart 13 1-2 28, Levi Stewart 0 0-0 0, Nick Mowery 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 32 5-8 74; Three-point field goals: 5 (George Arnett, Jace Copley, Colt Buckle, Tucker Merritt and Bryce Stuart 1 apiece)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved