Valley boys’ fourth-quarter comeback falls short against Callaway, lose 60-57

Published 10:57 pm Friday, January 25, 2019

VALLEY — The Valley boys basketball team came up just short against Callaway in a 60-57 loss on Friday night.

“I think we did a good job,” Valley boys head basketball coach Marshon Harper said. “We started off great in the first quarter and second quarters. Then I think that we had a letdown in the third quarter.”

Callaway juniors Antinez Blount and Duke Simpson got the Rams off their feet defensively a handful of times at the start of the fourth quarter. On the block, the Cavaliers used consistent pump faking to get to the foul line to extend the Callaway lead to 10 near the start of the fourth quarter.

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Valley then responded with a run of their own to make it a one-possession game with less than two minutes remaining in the ball game.

“We just had to call a timeout and adjust,” Harper said. “We adjusted, but we were down by 10 at that point. The kids gave effort. This is our third game this week, so they might’ve been tired. I’m proud of them.”

In the final minute, Valley defenders were often spotted standing in hopes to catch their breath. The Cavaliers spared the Rams and kept the game close by missing a lot of the good looks that Valley gave them, but it wasn’t enough in the end. While Harper has emphasized wanting his team to improve defensively in the past, he said that on Friday night, some of the team’s defensive performance down the stretch was simply fatigue. The Rams are scheduled to get the weekend off.

Offensively, freshmen K.D. Hutchinson and Markavious Atkinson knocked down big shots to give Valley a chance in the final minute.

“They are doing a great job to be freshmen at their age,” Harper said. “I know they’re going to make mistakes. I’m trying to coach them hard, and they have to receive it. I understand that some of them might think that they know a little bit more, but we’re trying to play team ball, that’s it. I’m proud of the freshmen. They’re doing a great job.”

Atkinson led the team on Friday night with 14 points, 7 rebounds and an assist, while Hutchinson finished with 8 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Jaden Hamlin had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and an assist. Kintavious Dozier had 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block. Jacquez Trammell, Dontrez Daniel and T.J. Winston also scored in the effort.

After Callaway sunk a pair of free throws with 8 seconds left, Hutchinson put up a 3-pointer at the last second to give Valley a chance to go to overtime. After the shot clanked off of the back rim, the freshman buried his head in his jersey while community members ran out on the court to console him.

“It’s just a learning step,” Harper said. “He might have to hit that shot for us in another game. It’s brave for him to step up and shoot it as a freshman. Most people would shy away from that shot. It’s a great job for him to shoot it.”

Friday night was senior night for the Rams’ cheerleaders and two boys basketball players Winston and Daniel.