Spring Valley, Fairland advance
HUNTINGTON -- On Thursday night, Spring Valley was able to do something that no other team has been able to since 2008.
The Timberwolves ended Chesapeake's four-year run as champions of the St. Joe Invitational, using a strong defensive effort to get a 62-50 win in the Gold Bracket nightcap at Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
"These guys, it's been an up-and-down season," Spring Valley coach Cory Maynard said. "We've been in ballgames and not finished them off. These guys are still learning how to play in situations -- learn how to close out quarters and how to close out games. They did that well tonight."
Just minutes after Spring Valley performed a skit to the SJI theme "America's Got Talent", which ended with the Spring Valley students hoisting a trophy in the air, the Timberwolves' basketball team went to work ensuring they would get the chance to do the same on Saturday night.
The Timberwolves limited Chesapeake's looks and got solid offensive outputs across the board to earn the win.
Greg Herbert scored a team-high 19 points while Jacob Kilgore ended the game with 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Timberwolves. Austin Keyser added 15 points and Josh Steele chipped in with 11.
Chesapeake shot just 26 percent from the floor in the first half, struggling to finish around the basket.
The Timberwolves continuously attacked the rim and converted their opportunities to jump out to a 27-19 lead at the break.
The lead ballooned to as many as 15 in the third quarter as the Timberwolves never allowed the Panthers to get into an offensive rhythm.
The defensive effort was led by Spring Valley's Tyler Robertson, who locked up Chesapeake's Javon Thompson, the Panthers' leading scorer.
"Tyler did a great job," Maynard said. "We knew they were really relying on him to score and Tyler's our best on-ball defender. He's quick, strong and intelligent. He can flat-out defend. We also worked on having a foot in the paint on our help defense to make them kick the ball out then have good closeouts."
Thompson finished with 21 points with many coming in the game's final four minutes as he tried to rally his team. He finished 7-of-29 from the field.
In the first game, Fairland overcame a slight halftime deficit with a strong fourth-quarter effort to advance to Saturday night's championship game with a 67-54 win over Mountain Mission (Va.).
Evan Maddox finished with 19 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals to lead the Dragons. Cody Midkiff added 15 points and Chance Short came off the bench and provided a spark with 13 points.
Fairland's defense forced 30 turnovers on Mountain Mission and limited them to 10 fourth-quarter points to extend the lead in what had been a tight contest.
The Dragons jumped out to a 24-17 lead, but Mountain Mission scored 11 straight points to take the lead and essentially a 30-28 advantage into the locker room.
Mountain Mission got 12 points and 18 rebounds from Tedros Hailu-Mitaka while Robel Ali added 11 points.
CHESAPEAKE 10 9 10 21 -- 50: Duffield 9, Lindsey 5, Heffner 6, Thompson 21, Meadows 4, Saunders 5.
SPRING VALLEY 15 12 15 20 -- 62: Robertson 2, Steele 11, Keyser 15, Herbert 19, Kilgore 15.
FAIRLAND 19 11 16 21 -- 67: Midkiff 15, Phillips 7, N. Campbell 2, Raines 2, Maddox 19, Flynn 4, Short 13, T. Campbell 2, Braye 3.
MOUNTAIN MISSION 12 20 12 10 -- 54: Ali 11, Mnat 3, Graham 7, Hirpa 2, T. Hailu-Mitku 12, D. Hailu-Mitka 3, Alemayehu 7, Samuel 9.