Piketon wins easy, Unioto holds on...two unbeatens meet after the New Year
Big fourth quarter gives Unioto win over Paint Valley
Tuesday night at Unioto, the visiting Bearcats and the host Shermans locked up in a bloodbath battle. Paint Valley found itself on the friendly side of the scoreboard after the first three stops, but Uniotoâ€™s depth continued to take its toll as the Shermans grabbed the lead in the fourth quarter and held on for a 55-53 win. The victory keeps the Shermans perfect on the season.
The Bearcats came out firing in the first half. Senior Caleb Stratton had a hot hand as he scored 13 of his game-high 18 points before halftime. The Paint Valley zone also caused problems as Logan Markko â€“ the PV senior center who recently became his schoolâ€™s all-time leader in blocked shots â€“ made points at the rim tough to come by for Unioto.
I really felt coming into this game that PV would have to get something from its bench to win. As talented as PVâ€™s starting five is, I knew Coach Hoops would consistently run eight or nine guys at the Bearcats, and without bench production, it would probably be more than PV could overcome.
Paint Valley did get some solid play from its subs. In the second quarter when Stratton picked up his second foul, Nathan Barker came off the bench and scored a bucket that gave Paint Valley a two-point advantage at 30-28 entering the half. In the third quarter, it was Aaron Claytor who got in foul trouble. This brought Logan Krivak off the PV bench and he delivered a right-corner three-pointer that helped soften a Unioto push and allowed PV to still lead 45-42 after three quarters of play.
Despite PV surviving these two stretches, you could just sense Uniotoâ€™s depth starting to take over the game. So many role players played big for Unioto. Against PVâ€™s zone, Unioto got away with poor shooting from the field because of second chance opportunities. In the first half, Cody Strange offered many hustle plays to earn Unioto extra possessions, and in the second half, Adam Woods did the same. Speaking of role players playing well, Nick Rose was extremely clutch for Unioto on this night. In the first half, the Bearcats were showing signs of opening up a double-digit lead, but down eight, Rose knocked down a three. In the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 47 when a Rose triple from the right wing gave Unioto its first lead of the second half at the five-minute mark â€“ a lead that Unioto never relinquished.
It was a nice team win for Unioto, but I thought Uniotoâ€™s go-to guy Brick Davis really came up big for the Shermans. Davis is such a huge match-up problem because of his size and versatility, and he really caused PV some problems throughout the night. Throughout the game, Davis started to get into the middle of the Paint Valley defense more and more. Davis got to the line nine times and made them all. The free throw line had been a horror story for Unioto in recent weeks, but tonight, Unioto was 14-18 from the charity stripe.
Davis led Unioto with 17 points, but a great example of the depth comes from the rest of the scoring. Cole Murray scored 10 points. Chase Detillion added nine points; Rose and Christian Dunkle scored eight and seven points respectively.
I was so impressed with the effort of both teams. I thought the officiating was outstanding tonight, because the crew let both teams play. This was good news, bad news for PV. The Bearcats canâ€™t afford to have a tightly called game, because they canâ€™t deal with the foul trouble that would come with that. Unfortunately for PV, it did make for a physical game that made life tough for the Bearcats when dealing with Uniotoâ€™s pressure.
The win does set up a chance for Unioto to enter their head-to-head match-up with Piketon undefeated in league play. Barring the Shermans upsetting the Redstreaks â€“ who beat SE 75-45 Tuesday night â€“ tonightâ€™s game proves to me that the race for second-place is going to get crazy this year. Unioto is in the driverâ€™s seat as it appears they will finish the first half of SVC play no worse than 6-1, but keep in mind they have played several home games in the first half. Starting in January, Unioto will play six of its next seven SVC games away from home.
IN OTHER ACTIONâ€¦Tuesday night was a big night for many individuals around the league. We had a player knock down five triples in a loss and another who lost despite scoring 28 points. One star continued to climb the SVC history ladder while one team had every player in uniform score in tonight's win. Make sure to take a look at tonight's McDonald's i'm lovin' it SVC Boys' Basketball Scoreboard for all the scores and stats.