For a team that has struggled offensively this season, the Pleasant Valley boys looked more than comfortable on Friday night against Clinton on that end of the court.
The Spartans worked their offense, took good shots, rebounded the basketball and found open teammates. They also played pretty solid defense as their effort on both ends of the floor resulted in a 59-25 win in Mississippi Athletic Conference action.
Pleasant Valley (5-4 overall, 2-4 MAC) came into the contest averaging only 36 points per game, but the hosts finished with three players in double figures and had 10 different players score. Jacob Townsend led the way with 12 points while CJ Ragins chipped in another 10 points and six rebounds.
Junior Joey Borbeck came off the bench to bury three 3-pointers as he finished with 11 points. Seth Clausen added another eight points and Ryan Dolphin contributed seven points and three steals for the winners.
Spartans coach Steve Hillman said it was nice turnaround for his team after executing the offense on Tuesday night in a game against Davenport Central only to see those shots not go down. PV scored only 19 points in that loss.
"It was finally good to see the ball go into the basket tonight," Hillman said. "We've worked on trying different ways to manufacture points, and I thought tonight offensive rebounds were big and we got some good baskets in transition. Those are the things that we are going to need to do going forward to be successful."
The Spartans did not come out on fire, missing their first six shots, but they got offensive rebounds on four of those attempts. Junior Matt Mickle snagged three of those offensive boards which led to second chances. Carter Cline also kept possessions alive with rebounds as eight of PV's 14 first-quarter points were on second-chance possessions. It helped the hosts get out to a 14-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.
From there, Dolphin and his teammates turned up the defense. All three of Dolphin's steals came in the second quarter, and he added two more deflections that led to steals. Pleasant Valley forced six turnovers by the River Kings in the quarter and played solid overall defense the entire period. When Clinton guards tried to drive into the lane, they often found themselves with nowhere to go.
The River Kings started to settle for 3-pointers and were not hitting. Clinton went 2-for-16 on 3-pointers in the first half. For the game, PV forced 19 turnovers.
"We got some deflections out of some traps and full-court pressure," Hillman said. "I think we are a really good half-court defensive team, but I think we just really have to find a way to manufacture some offense and tonight we did that."
Townsend helped lead PV's offensive effort in the second quarter, aggressively attacking the basket on drives. He had eight of his 12 points in that period to help give the hosts a 29-10 lead at halftime.
Ragins and Borbeck shined in the last 16 minutes. Ragins hit four of his five field goal attempts in the second half and Borbeck nailed two deep 3-pointers in the third quarter to squash any hope of a comeback for the River Kings (1-7, 1-5). Pleasant Valley led 42-15 after three quarters.
Hillman added that this type of offensive performance could help jump-start his team offensively.
"We had a couple guys that had not shot well come around and shoot well, Borbeck and Clausen especially," Hillman said. "Those guys do not have to be volume shooters for us but they do have to make open shots. Hopefully after tonight, this will be, at least confidence-wise, a step in the right direction."
Max Holy and Taylon Hayes each had seven points to lead Clinton. Treveon Bailey had another five points for the visitors, all in the second half.
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