Timberwolves battle past Highlanders
BOYS CLASS AAA, REGION IV, SECTION 2 SEMIFINALS
HUNTINGTON — Spring Valley’s game against Huntington High did not resemble the expectations of a typical 1-vs.-4 sectional matchup.
This one was physical and down to the wire.
In the end, Spring Valley — the No. 1 seed in the section — made enough plays in the final minute to earn a 68-60 win over the Highlanders in the Class AAA, Region IV, Section 2 semifinals at Spring Valley High School on Wednesday night.
The game’s biggest play came with just 55 seconds left and the Timberwolves nursing a one-point advantage.
The Timberwolves looked content to run clock, but guard Chase Maynard saw a lane on the baseline and penetrated, drawing the post defense to him. Maynard hit C.J. Meredith for what turned into a three-point play that gave Spring Valley a 61-57 cushion.
Meredith finished with a game-high 22 points.
“It was nice to stretch that out to four with under a minute to go and stretch that out to a two-possession game,” Spring Valley coach Cory Maynard said. “We didn’t play well, but we did what we had to do to win.”
Huntington was not able to draw closer as the Timberwolves earned the win to set up a sectional championship matchup against Cabell Midland at 7 p.m. Friday at Spring Valley.
Despite the loss, Huntington coach Ty Holmes was proud of his team’s effort and togetherness throughout the game, which gained intensity in the second half.
“We fought hard today, man,” Holmes said. “I’m just proud of my guys. If we’d have scrapped together like we did today throughout the season, we’d have been a lot further, but I’m just so proud of how they fought hard and stuck together.”
After the third quarter, words between the teams led to a few fans coming onto the court before school officials restored order.
Still, the quick fracas amped up the adrenaline heading into what proved to be an exciting fourth quarter.
Spring Valley appeared to distance itself after taking a 48-42 lead, but Kris Brown’s four-point play sparked an 8-0 run for the Highlanders that gave them a 50-48 lead before Nate Ellis tied things up with a layup.
Brown fought th rough cramps and foul trouble throughout the evening to finish with 11 points, but was a catalyst in the fourth quarter to help the Highlanders get back into the game.
Huntington was also sparked off its bench from Tanner Stevens, who finished with a team-high 14 points and hit three 3-pointers for the Highlanders, forcing Spring Valley out of its zone. That defensive switch helped the Highlanders get back into the game.
“They hit some 3s and that drew us out of it, and it’s a tough matchup for us man-to-man,” Maynard said. “I think they hit eight of them for the game.”
The first half was back-and-forth for both sides with neither really gaining an advantage either way.
Spring Valley came out of the gate strong, racing to a 7-0 lead, and never trailed in the first half, taking a 27-24 lead into the locker room.
Huntington led just once in the game — that coming on a steal and layup from Torin Lochow, who finished with 12 points in the loss. Lochow’s layup gave the Highlanders a 42-40 lead, but a Meredith 3-pointer preceded an offensive rebound and putback from Ellis just before the end of the third quarter that made it 45-42 and led to the exchange of words as each team went to their bench.
Ellis finished with 15 points for the Timberwolves, who also got 12 points from Graeson Malashevich in the win.
HUNTINGTON 9 15 18 18 — 60: Stevens 14, Brown 11, Lochow 12, C. Page 9, Blackwell 5, Hopkins 5, Littlejohn 4.
SPRING VALLEY 11 16 18 23 — 68: Meredith 22, Ellis 15, Malashevich 12, Booth 8, Maynard 6, Nester 5.
“We didn’t play well, but we did what we had to do to win.”
Cory Maynard Spring Valley coach
Check www.herald-dispatch.com for more photos.