Dragons upend Tigers for third place in McLouth tourney
by Dennis Sharkey
Valley Falls reserve Will Jones only had four points in the Dragons’ stunning win over the Jefferson West Tigers, but they were big.
Jones scored the last four points in the Dragons’ 63-58 that clinched third place in the McLouth Invitational tournament Saturday night.
Jones was in the right spot Saturday night when teammate Alex Nottingham stole the ball and found him breaking away toward the basket. Jones was fouled with 26 seconds left in the game and the Dragons clinging to a one-point lead.
Jones hit both free throws to put the Dragons up 61-58.
The Dragons got back on defense and again Jones was in the right place to get the ball after teammate Jordan Morrow deflected a pass and was fouled with five seconds left. Jones iced the game.
“We scrapped the whole time and we battled,” Valley Falls Head Coach Caleb Gatzemeyer said after the win. “That’s a solid team. We just didn’t quit and I’m happy the way we came back and just kept fighting and refused to lose.”
The game was tied at 12 different times and featured 11 lead changes.
Valley Falls faced their biggest deficit of the game with the score 56-51with 2:15 left in the game. The Dragons also trailed by five points at the half. The Dragons had tied the game at 51 with 3:30 left. The Tigers built their biggest lead of five points when sophomore Cory Brown found junior Zach Baker slashing to the basket. That combo provided problems for the Dragons’ defense all night.
The Tigers’ lead was short lived as senior Brooks Glassel hit a three-point basket with 1:54 to pull the Dragons back within a bucket.
Morrow then blocked a shot in the lane and on a fast break Glassel was good again from three point range to put the Dragons in front for good, 58-57.
Gatzmeyer said the win was big for his team after a tough loss to Atchison County Community High School-Effingham in the second round on Friday night. He said facing tough competition like Jeff West will help his team come post-season time.
“We can only get better and that’s what we’re going to do each day is get better,” he said.
Glassel led all scorers with 22 points. Nottingham had 14 points for the Dragons and Morrow had 12 points.
Jefferson West had three players in double figures led by Dillon Roy with 19 points followed by Brown with 14 points and Baker with 12 points.
The Dragons made it into the winners bracket with a win against tournament host McLouth on Tuesday, Jan. 18.
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