The Pleasant Valley boys basketball team proved an old adage Friday night against Davenport West.
The better you practice during the week, the better you play come game time.
The Spartans played a nearly flawless first half offensively and shut down the Falcons’ inside attack the whole game in a 63-26 win in Mississippi Athletic Conference action in PV’s gym.
Spartans junior forward Brian Dayman, who led the winners with 20 points, said several straight days of intense practice showed up in the first game back from winter break.
“The last couple days of practice were really good, we had a lot of energy on the defensive end,” Dayman said. “Honestly, we could kind of see this coming. Everyone was excited to get back.”
Pleasant Valley coach Steve Hillman was concerned that West’s sizable frontline might present a problem for his team but the Spartans kept most of the Falcons in check.
Brett Erwin did have 13 points for the visitors but the other frontcourt players for West combined for two points and five rebounds. West (2-6 overall, 1-4 MAC) also did not have any second-chance points and went one stretch late in the first quarter until halftime with just two field goals, both from Erwin.
“Defensively, we keyed in on a game plan and our guys followed it,” Hillman said. “I was definitely happy with our effort and our energy and you can get that when you make shots early.”
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The Spartans did more than hit shots early. In the first half, Pleasant Valley (4-4, 2-3) went 14-of-18 from the field, including missing just one shot in the second quarter. Dayman went 6-for-6 from the field in the first half and the Spartans also handed out nine assists on the made field goals. Not surprisingly, PV went into half with a 33-14 lead.
Although the way the half ended was not exactly how Hillman planned the final shot. After a mad scramble, Hunter Snyder buried an off-balance 25-foot shot at the buzzer to create the 19-point edge at the break. Snyder also had a nice game for the Spartans with 12 points and three steals. The sophomore guard hit three 3-pointers in the first half.
“Definitely not how coach drew it up,” Snyder said with a laugh about the half’s final sequence. “But our biggest key was pack in the lane and stop drives to the basket. I thought our defense played really well the whole game.”
West coach Mark Bigler said his team simply had to flush this game out of their system and move on.
“We have some kids who have ability but we have to get to a level of effort and toughness that we did not display which is disappointing,” Bigler said. “We played hard in the third and fourth quarter but we did not make anything, our shots didn’t fall. But we didn’t come out with any fire and it just blew up on us. It’s just one of those game we have to put behind us and go back to work.”