WAVERLY – The Valley Indians punched their ticket to the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio Friday night at the old Waverly High School gymnasium. The Indians started off hot from the opening tip-off against the Southeastern Panthers.
After jumping off to a 5-0 run, Valley continued to roll on through the game, taking out Southeastern 64-50 to capture their sectional championship.
The first quarter was the most competitive of the four Friday night. Valley only outscored their opponent by two points, 14-12 in the period.
Blake Howard had a spectacular first quarter for Valley. He hit two big three-pointers against Southeastern in the period to electrify his teammates, and energize the raucous Indians’ fans in attendance.
The Indians were able to pull away in the second quarter and increase their lead going into the half. Valley added another 19 points against Southeastern in the second, while holding the Panthers to only 10 points.
At the half, the Indians marched into the locker room up 11 points, 33-22.
Valley’s offense slowed a bit in the third quarter, as the Indians were only able to score 10 points. However, while the offensive production hit a few obstacles, the Valley defense stepped up and continued to hold the Panthers at bay.
By the end of the third quarter, Valley still held a lead over Southeastern, 43-29.
The fourth quarter was a complete scoring spree for both teams, each putting up 21 points on the scoreboard. Nearly every shot was countered by the opposing team.
Howard had another big quarter for Valley in the fourth, adding seven points to his total. By the end of the game, he had racked up a team leading 15 points for the Indians.
Christian Breech finished just behind with 14 points on the night for Valley.
As time expired on the clock, the Valley Indians held on to a 64-50 victory over the Southeastern Panthers, to win a sectional championship and move on to the district round.
“We knew it was going to be a tough matchup,” Valley coach Scott Rolfe said. “They have great guard play, and their post players are pretty decent, so give our guys credit, because they continued to throw different defenses at us.”
Rolfe was particularly proud of his team’s ability to make adjustments to Southeastern’s play.
In an unfamiliar state for the Indians this season, Bryan Rolfe was limited to single digits in scoring, only putting up eight points Friday night.
“I think it’s the first time all year Bryan hasn’t been in double figures,” Rolfe said. “It just showed we have other guys who can score, and it also showed us that when people move to the right places, he’s going to give them the ball. It was a great team effort.”
Rolfe said there was a lot of talk in practice this week about everyone on the floor contributing points.
Defense for the Indians helped solidify their win over the Panthers.
“I think on the defensive end we showed we were better,” Rolfe said. “We kind of got back down to the basics on defense, and until the kid hit the late three or four threes there at the end, then they’re still out in the 30’s.”
Southeastern’s Carroll hit three big three-pointers late in the fourth quarter for the Panthers, but was unable to chip away the Valley lead, as the Indians continued to answer with countering baskets.
After defeating the Panthers, the Indians will face Albany Alexander at the Convocation Center on the campus of Ohio University in Athens.
Valley – Howard 4-5-15, Breech 6-1-14, Rolfe 4-0-8, Linne 3-1-7, Romanello 3-0-6, Williams 2-2-6, Brewer 3-0-6, Wolford 1-0-2
Southeastern – Dye 7-7-23, Carroll 3-0-9, Smith 2-3-7, Kohn 3-0-6, Benson 2-1-3, Hartman 1-0-2
Three-point field goals – Valley 3 (Howard 2, Breech) Southeastern 5 (Carroll 3, Dye 2)
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.