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Vikings fall in closing seconds to Rebels in Div. IV sectional finals

Symmes Valley’s Jacob Patterson smacks the ball out of the hands of South Gallia’s Dalton Matney (44). (The Ironton Tribune / Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

WELLSTON — The lack of experience is difficult during the regular season, but it doesn’t compare to the absence of being tournament tested.

Despite only two returning starters, the Symmes Valley Vikings weren’t 17-3 during the regular season and won a share of the Southern Ohio Conference title.

But unlike the 20-game regular season, there is no learning curve in the post-season as the Vikings discovered Tuesday when the South Gallia Rebels took a 39-37 win in the Division IV sectional finals.

“We played as bad as we could,” said Vikings’ coach Jerome Fuller. “The thing that hurt us more at the end was our lack of experience playing in close games. Most of our games have been blowouts. South Gallia has been in them all year.”

There were other things that hurt the Vikings. They were only 13 of 47 from the field for 27.7 percent and they had 19 turnovers, several coming in the closing minutes of the game that proved extremely costly.

“It was a typical tournament game: low scoring and bad shooting,” said Fuller. “We weren’t patient enough. We wanted things to go fast. We have plenty of shots inside, but we couldn’t hit them.”

The Vikings (17-4) trailed most of the game. They were down 16-7 after a putback by Corey Haner to start the second quarter, the Rebels’ largest lead of the night.

A free throws by Ryan Stanley and a driving layup by Corey Brown got the Vikings with 20-16 and a free throw by Jacob Patterson with 30 seconds left in the half made it 20-17 at the break.

South Gallia (11-10) missed its first six shots of the third quarter and had five turnovers in three minutes. But the Vikings struggled to score as well. Each team was just 2 of 11 from the field and the Rebels led 24-21 after three quarters.

Symmes Valley took its first lead at 27-26 with 5:58 to play after a 3-point by Luke Taylor and two foul shots from Josh Craft.

The Vikings lead was 33-28 with 3:27 to go after a steal by Taylor who fed D.J. Miller for a layup.

Dalton Matney answered with two foul shots and a game-tying 3-poiner at the 2:18 mark and it was 33-all.

A steal by Tyler Wilson — he had four — and a layup by Taylor gave the Vikings a 37-35 lead with just 25 seconds to go.

A layup by Haner tied the game with nine seconds left and then Matney got a steal and was fouled with three seconds to play.

Matney hit both ends of a one-and-one and the Vikings missed a long desperation 3-point attempt as the final horn sounded.

Miller had 11 points to pace the Vikings while Taylor had seven points and 12 rebounds.

Matney finished with 18 points — nine in the fourth quarter — for the Rebels who won their first sectional since 2006 and on the third in school history.

South Gallia 14 6 4 15 = 39

Symmes Valley 7 10 4 16 = 37

SOUTH GALLIA (11-10): Levi Ellis 2 0-6 4, Michael Parcell 0 0 0-0 0, Corey Haner 4 0 0-2 8, Danny Matney 2 1 0-0 7, Dalton Matney 4 2 4-4 18, Jaylan Nolan 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 16-49 4-12 39. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: Danny Matney (4th 4:01). 3-point goals: 3-11. Rebounds: 12 offense, 21 defense = 33 (Dan Matney 9, Ellis 8). Team rebounds: 4. Assists: 7 (Parcell 2). Steals: 10 (Dan Matney 4). Turnovers: 18. Blocked shots: Haner.

SYMMES VALLEY (17-4): D.J. Miller 4 0 3-4 11, Luke Taylor 2 1 0-2 7, Tyler Wilson 2 0 2-2 6, Josh Craft 1 0 2-2 4, Ryan Stanley 2 0 1-2 5, Alec Herrell 0 0 0-0 0, Corey Brown 1 0 0-0 2, Jacob Patterson 0 0 2-4 2. Totals: 13-47 10-16 37. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: Patterson (4th 0:03). 3-point goals: 1-8. Rebounds: 13 offense, 23 defense = 36 (Taylor 12, Craft 6, Patterson 6). Team rebounds: 2. Assists: 6 (Taylor 2, Miller 2). Steals: 8 (Wilson 4). Turnovers: 19. Blocked shots: Stanley 3, Taylor 1, Patterson 1).