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West Valley varsity boys basketball falls to Forestville after close game

BLOCK HIM OUT — West Valley’s Colton Meyers attempts to drive the ball during the game against Forestville. Photo by Dave DeLuca.
WEST VALLEY — A 12 – 0 run, early in the second quarter, gave the visiting Forestville Hornets a 24 – 9 lead against the West Valley Central School varsity basketball team.

Senior guard Colton Meyers contributed a bucket and the foul, completing a 3-point play and scored 6 points in 43 seconds, as West Valley ended the first half down 29 – 15. The second half saw West Valley start the third quarter on an 8 – 0 run. Marcus Enser knocked down a 3 from the right corner, to tie the game at 33 – 33.

Mike Grigsby was fouled, midway through the fourth quarter, and sank both free throws to give West Valley its first lead of the game, capping a 21 – 6 run, since the start of the second half. West Valley’s offense scored more points in the third quarter than it did, during the first half.

“Our offense, we didn’t tweak too much,” said Coach Jason Kearney. “Our shots just started to finally fall. Our first half shooting was very poor. We missed a lot of open shots, shots in the paint and poor shot selection. We took fewer, poor percentage shots, in the second half and attacked the basket a bit more, in the second half.”

With 3:20 remaining in the fourth, Grigsby’s driving layup gave West Valley a 37 – 36 lead, but that was erased on the next procession, by Forestville’s Jacob Nosbisch, who knocked down a 3-pointer and two free throws, to ice the game and give Forestville a 46 – 38 victory. The Wildcats found themselves down by 16 in the second quarter, but came back, to take the lead in the fourth.

The Forestville team utilized many of its post players, rotating a number of players taller than 6 feet, 2 inches. The Wildcats were playing without Dylan Westfall and Brandon Rockwood, who were sidelined, due to flu-like symptoms, according to Kearney.

“Almost our whole halftime was used on discussing defensive positioning and rebounding,” Kearney said. “I knew it was going to be tough, with our two big guys out. But, rebounding is almost all effort. Yes, there is some skill, in reading the ball as it’s released and anticipating where it will come off the rim and getting in good position, while boxing out, but the best rebounders are the ones that want to win and give the most effort.

“The best defenders and best rebounders are the ones that give the most effort and have the biggest will to win,” he added. “I told them, if we want to be more successful, this year, we need to play better team defense and rebound better and I stressed that, even more, at halftime. I told them, if we can go out, in the second half, and play the defense I knew they can play and rebound better, they could climb back into the game, and that’s what they did.”

The Wildcats forced several turnovers in the second half, contributing to many fast break points, on the offense end. They had 15 steals, as a team. Meyers led with five, Grigsby had four, Derek Wells had four and Cole Stanbro had three.

In the first half, Forestville ran their offensive sets through their post players, feeding them the ball on the low block. Kearney spoke about how the team responded to that in the second half. We put a lot more pressure on their guards, so they couldn’t dish it to the post,” Kearney said. “We were trying to do it in the first half, but we had one or two guys out of position, almost every time, down the floor, but were able to correct some of those hiccups, during our halftime adjustments. We knew they wanted to run their offense through Caleb Makuch. We keyed on keeping the ball out of his hands.”

Makuch was held scoreless in the second half and finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds, while Wayne Hartloff had 11 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Nosbisch led the Hornets with 13 points and chipped in five assists and four steals. Adam Pleva added 12, as the Hornets had an offensive attack, with three players in double figures.

“Defense was the key,” Meyers said. “[In] the first half, we weren’t getting back and we were playing on our heels. Then, in the second half, we were playing on our toes and really tightened up. It came down to rebounding and [being] rebounded killed us, the whole game.”

Meyers and Grigsby hadmore than 4 points. Meyers got 12 and Grigsby had 16, including four 3s.

“Myers had a tough night, shooting, but he never, ever gives up and gives it his all, and does so many things for our team, even when he isn’t scoring,” said Kearney.

“He led our team with five steals and caused many more turnovers. Grigsby looked to shoot more, in the second half, after having a tough first half. He gained some confidence and hit three of his four 3s, in the second half. Colton had a tough shooting night and they both know they can play better than they did. Not that they had a bad game, but both are capable of playing better.”

The Wildcats will play a home game against North Collins on Dec. 14, at 7:30.

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