Valley boys win foul-fest against Deer Lakes
By: Doug Gulasy
Tuesday, February 6, 2018 | 11:57 PM
For the second time in four days, Deer Lakes and Valley played a physical, whistle-filled, down-to-the-wire basketball game.
The similarities ended there.
A fast-paced, chaotic game with 54 combined fouls saw No. 5 Valley hold off visiting Deer Lakes' furious fourth-quarter rally to post a 92-87 victory in a Section 1-4A game Tuesday night.
“I'm just happy we hung in there and got the win,” Valley coach Mark Faulx said. “We certainly need to take a look at how we handled our emotions, and that's something we work on and talk about regularly. There's a lot of feelings that come up in a basketball game. We've got to be able to manage them and move on to the next play. We can't hurt ourselves.”
Valley (12-4, 9-3) secured second place in the section and avenged Saturday's 43-41 overtime loss to Deer Lakes.
Foul trouble hampered both teams in the first meeting. Four Deer Lakes starters fouled out, as did Valley's Deonte Ross in a game with a total of 47 whistled infractions.
The Lancers and Vikings exceeded that foul number in the rematch, combining for 54 fouls and 75 free-throw attempts. Four players fouled out.
But while the teams struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the first game, that wasn't a problem Tuesday. Valley surpassed its Saturday point total by halftime, and both the Vikings and Lancers reached a season high in points. Four players from both teams finished in double figures.
“Really bizarre (to play them again so soon), but I think it's a good opportunity,” Faulx said. “You're familiar with what you just saw, and you have a chance for one or two days to make adjustments. I think it's really interesting how the scoring changed.”
Deer Lakes, which trailed by as many as 17 points in the second half, made the game interesting late. Jake Kelly scored 16 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter as the Lancers (11-8, 7-4) cut their deficit to six points with just over a minute remaining.
Valley responded with four free throws to put enough distance between the teams before Deer Lakes' Jared Colton hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds to make it a five-point game.
“I give my guys credit for fighting back,” Deer Lakes coach Terence Parham said. “Valley made enough plays, particularly enough foul shots at the end, to hold on.”
“I just wanted to let them know that as long as there's time on the clock, we can make this run. Anything's possible.”
The game resembled Saturday's in the first quarter as turnovers kept the scoring down for both teams. Deer Lakes emerged from the quarter with a 14-10 lead.
Things turned in the second. A pair of big Valley runs — 8-0 and 11-2 — helped the Vikings take control, and they went into halftime with a 42-29 lead. Nyjewel Carter scored 12 points in the quarter, hitting a pair of 3-pointers. He finished with five 3s and 27 points.
The teams combined for 30 turnovers in the first half — 16 for Deer Lakes, 14 for Valley.
“At times, the whistles took us out of our rhythm a little bit,” Parham said. “It was hard-fought on both ends. I think in particular that second quarter, they got really hot.”
It was more of the same early in the third. Valley extended its lead to 17 points on an Alex Ward layup, but Deer Lakes kept fighting back. The Lancers twice cut the Valley lead to six points, only to see Valley extend its advantage back out to double digits.
The pattern continued in the fourth quarter: Deer Lakes went on a mini-run to trim its deficit, but Valley kept answering. The Lancers made their final push in the last two minutes, but Valley sank 17 of its 20 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter and finished 28 of 35 from the line.
“There was a six-point swing real quick where we were just careless with the ball, and all of a sudden we went from up double digits to single digits,” Faulx said. “That has a completely different feel. We kept our composure, and we got the ball to free-throw shooters and made free throws.”
Stokes had 22 points for Valley, shooting 9 of 11 from the line. Ross added 16, and Alex Ward chipped in with a season-high 15.
Colton scored 16 points for Deer Lakes, Josh Solomon had 15 and Colin Kadlick tallied 12.
Carter and Ross fouled out for Valley, as did Solomon and Jack Hollibaugh for Deer Lakes.
Valley is done with section play. Deer Lakes hosts Freeport on Friday with a chance to tie the Yellowjackets (14-5, 8-3) for second in the section.
“It's like life: We've got to find a way to bounce back after a tough one like that and get ready for another tough game,” Parham said.