Timberwolves squeeze past second-ranked Redskins, 65-60
HURRICANE, W.Va. — At the outset, Spring Valley seemed to totally disrupt state-ranked Hurricane’s offense, funneling everything inside to 6-foot-7, 290-pound Doug Nester, which led to a quick Timberwolves advantage.
However, when Nester found himself in foul trouble moments into the second quarter and then again early in the third quarter, and was forced to sit the rest of the way, the Wolves had to adjust. And adjust they did.
C.J. Meredith scored 15 of his 25 points in the second half Tuesday as visiting Spring Valley broke out of a funk with a 65-60 victory over the Class AAA No. 2 Redskins. The Wolves (9-8) had lost six of their last seven games.
Meredith iced the win by making 4 of 4 free throws in the final 22 seconds after the Redskins (13-3) had shaved their deficit back to a single point at 61-60 on Joe Muto’s perimeter jumper with 56 seconds remaining.
Graeson Malashevich hurt the Skins with dribble penetration and backed Meredith with 15 points. Brock Booth came off the bench to nail four 3-pointers for 12 points as the Timberwolves trailed only for about a 21/2-minute stretch early in the third quarter.
“You’ve just got to adjust,” said Spring Valley coach Cory Maynard, “and we adjusted to what’s going on out there. It speaks volumes for our kids. We had to switch some and we had to go a great job talking on defense and getting through screens to stop them from getting to the rim, because I felt that’s where they hurt us tonight, getting to the rim.”
Hurricane couldn’t do anything right on offense at the start, falling behind 8-0 and trailed 12-4 after one quarter, going 1 of 12 shooting with seven turnovers. The Skins’ only bucket came on an uncontested fast-break layup.
But when Nester, the NCAA Division I football line prospect, had to leave, Hurricane came storming back and tied it 28-28 at halftime, making 8 of 12 shots. Austin Dearing, who led the Skins with 27 points, scored 12 in the second period.
Hurricane seemed to have all the momentum when Nester picked up his third and fourth fouls with 7:03 left in the third quarter, but it didn’t work out that way. Spring Valley’s offense kept humming at an efficient pace and the Wolves picked up eight steals to thwart Hurricane’s attack, four by guard Chase Maynard.
Spring Valley ended up shooting 54 percent from the floor, 53 percent from 3-point range (9 of 17) and 10 of 15 at the foul line.
“We knew Meredith was going to get his going in,” said Hurricane coach Lance Sutherland, “but we didn’t want to let anyone else get theirs. We didn’t run them off the 3-point line, we got Nester in foul trouble and got him on the bench and Meredith got three and we were supposed to go at him, but we never went at him. Just little things.”
Still, Hurricane had a chance as the game wound down, cutting a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit to 61-60 with just less than one minute left. Malashevich missed the front end of a one-and-one to give the Skins hope with 42 seconds left, but Dearing came up short on a shot in the lane with 28 seconds to go and Meredith corralled the rebound. He was fouled and bumped the lead to 63-60 by converting both ends of a one-and-one.
Cory Maynard said his team looked more refreshed after coming off a stretch of nine games in 18 days.
“We kind of got into a little funk where we weren’t shooting the ball real well,” Maynard said, “and not to make excuses, but we played several games in a row and I think we were exhausted there a little bit. You could look in the players’ faces and just tell. Physically and mentally, they were drained. But you’ve got to show up and play.”
Muto added 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Redskins and Jordan Nicely scored 10 points. The Wolves led 26-24 in total rebounds.
SPRING VALLEY 12 16 18 19 — 65: Maynard 3-9 0-1 7, Ellis 2-5 0-0 4, Malashevich 6-10 2-4 15, Meredith 7-11 8-8 25, Nester 1-1 0-2 2, Booth 4-7 0-0 12, Totals 23-43 10-15 65.
HURRICANE 4 24 14 18 — 60: Nicely 4-8 1-2 10, Young 1-2 0-0 2, Womack 0-4 0-0 0, Dearing 11-19 4-5 27, Muto 7-15 7-7 21, Williams 0-0 0-1 0, Totals 23-48 12-15 60.
3-point goals: Spring Valley 9-17 (Maynard 1-4, Malashevich 1-2, Meredith 3-4, Booth 4-7); Hurricane 2-9 (Nicely 1-4, Womack 0-1, Dearing 1-3, Muto 0-1).