Lucasville Valley escapes Hornets’ upset bid, 66-65
ATHENS — This one had a little of everything including a controversial call that led to a thrilling finish.
When the smoke had cleared, the heavily-favored Lucasville Valley Indians had escaped with a 66-65 win over the Coal Grove Hornets Saturday in the Division III district semifinals at Ohio University.
“Before the game we asked them to give us everything because nobody gave these kids a chance,” said Coal Grove coach Jay Lucas.
“We told them not to be intimidated by the AP ranking or the atmosphere. I felt like every kid we had stepped up to their highest level.”
Coal Grove (15-8) battled back from as much as a 13-point deficit in the second quarter to take the lead in the fourth quarter.
After the Hornets battled back to take the lead, Valley got within 49-48 with 5:21 left on a foul shot by Jordan West, but D.J. Miller hit 3-pointer, Sean Paulus made a free throw and Conor Markins sank a pair and it was 55-48 with 4:25 left.
The Hornets led by as much as 58-50 on a free throw by Miller with 3:30 left, but fouls took over and the final minutes became a foul shooting contest including a critical technical foul call with 38 seconds left.
Miller was fouled on a drive to the basket but the Hornets’ Austen Pleasants was whistled for a questionable technical. Miller made one free throw for a 64-62 lead.
Chris Flowers made the two technical foul shots and the Indians got the ball back. They ran the clock down to 10 seconds and Flowers drove the lane, fed Hayden Dunn who made the layup with three seconds left and Valley led 66-64.
“It was an unfortunate call at a critical stage of the game” said Lucas.
Coal Grove called its final timeout with :02.3 seconds on the clock to set up the final play.
The Hornets set up a play and Paulus was fouled setting a pick before the ball was inbounded.
Paulus went to the line and hit the first of two shots and it was 66-65. But his second shot hit bounced off to the left and Valley got the rebound to end the game.
Miller led the Hornets with 17 points. Markins had 14 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in his finale.
Joe Akers had 12 points — 10 in the pivotal third quarter.
Dunn led Valley (21-2) with 21 points and eight rebounds. Jordan West had 17 points and Bryan Rolfe 11 points and seven rebounds.
The lead changed hand four times in the first quarter. Coal Grove’s last lead was 7-6 on a layup by Paulus at the 3:47 mark.
Markins’ layup tied the game 9-9 at the 1:37 mark but Ryan Brown had two straight layups to close the quarter and Valley lead 13-9.
Dunn it a 3-pointer at the 3:01 mark of the second quarter and the Indians were up 28-18. The lead was 33-20 after a 10-footer by Ethan Holbrook with 1:48 left in the half.
But three straight turnovers by Valley led to baskets by Miller and Brandon Adkins and the Hornets were down 33-24 at the break.
An 8-footer by Paulus and a couple of 3-pointes by Akers got the Hornets within 35-34. A triple by Miller tied the game at 37 and Miller’s steal and layup gave the Hornets a 39-37 lead with 3:48 on the clock.
A layup by Markins and a seal and layup by Adkins with six seconds in the quarter gave Coal Grove a 45-41 lead.
Despite the heartbreaking loss, Lucas could only praise his team.
“Our kids have bought into our systems. They’re playing as hard as they can play. Our kids will scrap with you. They’re scrappy and they’ll give great effort. We’re getting there. We’ve got a ways to go,” said Lucas.
Coal Grove 9 15 21 20 = 65
Lucasville 13 20 8 25 = 66
COAL GROVE (15-8: Sean Paulus 2 0 4-6 8, Brandon Adkins 3 0 1-4 7, D.J. Miller 4 2 3-5 17, Joe Akers 3 2 0-1 12, Conor Markins 3 1 5-6 14, Austen Pleasants 2 0 3-5 7, Jonathan Joseph 0 0 0-0 0, Isaiah Gunther 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-50 16-27 65. 3-point goals: 5-13. Rebounds: 12-O, 24-D = 36 (Markins 11, Pleasants 7, Adkins 6). Team/deadball rebounds: 5. Assists: 10 (Markins 4, Paulus 2, Miller 2). Steals: 8 (Miller 2, Gunther 2). Turnovers: 15. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: Adkins (4t 5:21), Pleasants (4th 0:38).
LUCASVILLE VALLEY (21-2): Chris Flowers 0 0 4-4 4, Bryan Rolfe 1 1 6- 11, Zach Shope 1 0 0-0 2, Jordan West 5 2 1-2 17, Hayden Dunn 5 1 8-12 21, Ryan Brown 2 0 0-0 4, Ethan Clark-Holbrook 3 0 1-2 7, Dakota Baker 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-49 20-26 66. 3-point goals: 4-16. Rebounds: 9-O, 22-D = 31 (Dunn 8, Rolfe 7).. Team/deadball rebounds: None. Assists: 9 (Brown 3, Flowers 2, Rolfe 2). Steals: 8 (Shope 4, Flowers 2). Turnovers: 13. Fouls: 20. Fouled out: Rolfe (4th 1:10), Dunn (4th 0:02).