Valley Falls boys capture McLouth Invitational trophy
Story and photos by Bridget Weishaar
Four county teams entered the McLouth Boys’ Invitational Tournament Jan. 21 and two — Valley Falls and McLouth—made it to the championship round with Valley Falls taking home the top trophy.
When asked what he thought about playing the Bulldogs in their house, coach Caleb Gatzemeyer said, “I knew that McLouth was going to be amped up to play for the championship of their own tournament. It always helps a team to play on their home court and familiar surroundings, but with that being said, I am confident in us wherever we are.”
Even though the opening possession went in favor of the Dragons, the game quickly went the Bulldogs’ way with a 14-5 lead with 3:25 left on the clock in the first quarter.
With some key plays under the basket from the Dragons and some time on the free throw line, the Dragons were able to regain composure and take the lead at half, 37-40.
“Tyler Weishaar was key for us on the offensive end, especially in the first half scoring 13 of his 15 points,” Gatzemeyer said.
With 5:37 left to play in the third quarter and some key Dragon players in foul trouble, the Bulldogs would once again regain the lead, 47-44, over the Dragons. With time quickly running out, and some big defensive plays by Zac Allen, the Dragons brought the score back to 53-56 to close out the third quarter.
With the fourth quarter under way, and an easy layup from Marty Gatzemeyer, the Bulldogs would once again trail 60-67. The Bulldogs were never able to regain the lead and the Dragons went on to win the game 84-77.
“Our guard play was key down the stretch with Gates hitting a big three, Marty running in transition and Luke putting the game away at the line. I couldn’t be prouder of the effort of this group.”
The Dragons would have four players chosen for the All-Tournament Team—Marty Gatzmeyer, Gates Glassel, Luke Burns and Ben Gantz. Burns was also named the tournament MVP with a three-game total of 56 points.
The Valley Falls Dragons took to the court with their first game Tuesday evening against the ACCHS Tigers. The Dragons made quick work of the Tigers with a final score of 67-17. This win would pit them against the Riverside Cyclones Friday evening. The then 10-1 Dragons got down early in the first quarter, but were able to recover and take the lead 24-21 at the half. The next two quarters could very easily have gone either way with both teams keeping each other within two points and quickly trading the lead back and forth on each possession.
Unfortunately for the Cyclones the Dragons were able to pull away late in the fourth quarter with some big plays from senior Gates Glassel and sophomore Marty Gatzemeyer. The Dragons would go on to win the game 65-59.
The Bulldogs defeated the Maranatha Academy Eagles in overtime and the Heritage Christian Chargers to secure their spot in Saturday’s game.
Riverside defeated Heritage Christian, 67-60, for third place.
Jefferson County North fell to Riverside, but then went on to defeat ACCHS, 50-32, and Maranatha, 51-47, for fifth place. Oskaloosa lost to Heritage Christian and Marantha, but won their final game against ACCHS, 52-47, for seventh place.
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