January 24, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL BOYS BASKETBALL NOTES: Big stretch on tap for Valley

By Travis Lazarczyk tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

The Valley High School boys basketball team is in third place in the Western D standings, behind Hyde and Forest Hills. With games against both those schools in the next six days, the Cavaliers can take over the top spot in the region.

WEEKLY HONOR ROLL

• Valley’s Carrington Miller scored the 1,000th point of his career in a 92-39 win over Buckfield on Tuesday.
• Austin Ireland of Winslow scored 20 points in a 71-38 win over Maranacook. Ireland had 19 points and 14 boards in a 66-52 win over Morse.
• Waterville’s Justin Jabar scored 26 points and made five 3-pointers in a 71-18 win over Lincoln Academy.
• Josh Gormley of Waterville scored 25 and had eight steals in a 76-55 win over Gardiner.
• Nick Noiles of Lawrence scored 18 points in a 55-28 win over Brunswick.
• Mt. Blue’s Kindle Bonsall scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a win over Skowhegan.
• Messalonskee’s Jordon Holmes scored 22 points in a 49-38 win over Erskine.
Austin Kane scored 27 points for Madison is a 60-50 win over Mt. Abram.

KENNEBEC JOURNAL/MORNING SENTINEL TOP 10

1. Hampden
2. Falmouth
3. Portland
4. Deering
5. Westbrook
6. South Portland
7. Lawrence
8. Edward Little
9. York
10. Bonny Eagle

"These are huge games, really," Valley coach Wade Morrill said. "To us, it basically comes down to, if we can take care of business in these games, we can go in (the tournament) No. 1."

The Cavaliers (10-2) already played close games with both Hyde and Forest Hills. Valley beat Forest Hills 54-53 in Bingham, and lost at Hyde 72-69 in double overtime.

When Hyde comes to Bingham tonight, Valley must do a better job handling the Phoenix's pressure, and limit Hyde's transition opportunities, Morrill said.

"We really played extremely well at Hyde. We held them to 38 points for three quarters," Morrill said. "In the fourth quarter, Hyde really stepped up its defensive pressure. They're very quick, and leaked out over the top for some easy layups."

The Cavaliers must also do a better job at the free-throw line.

"At Hyde, we missed a one-and-one that would have given us a six-point lead with 1:40 to go," Morrill said.

Since losing to Hyde, the Cavaliers have won five games in a row, and Morrill said an improved defensive effort is a big reason for the success.

"Every single player has gotten better defensively," Morrill said. "They've developed a great team chemistry. Guys work hard for each other."

Senior Carrington Miller scored his 1,000th point in Tuesday's 92-39 win over Buckfield. Morrill said he was glad Miller hit the milestone at home, and hit it before this tough stretch of games.

"Not that it's a distraction, but it's a big thing. Some kids start thinking about it, 'Hey this is the night I'm going to get it,' and they start to press a little and do things they normally wouldn't do," Morrill said.

* * *

After years of struggling to find wins, Nokomis has the chance to reach the tournament for the third consecutive season. To make a deep run in the playoffs, the Warriors (7-6) need to find some consistency, coach Carl Parker said.

"It boils down to our intangibles," Parker said. "Who is going to step up and lead, really lead and hold other players accountable?"

The Warriors have some strong wins this season. Nokomis won at Winslow in December, and earlier this month defeated Oceanside, then the top-ranked team in Eastern B, 62-41. Since that big win over the Mariners, however, Nokomis is 1-2, with two-point loses to Leavitt and Belfast sandwiched around a win over Morse.

"I think we're improving, skill-wise," Parker said. "We need to get that one loose ball, that one rebound, that one play you have to make. It's not always at the end of the game."

Senior guard Spencer Hartsgrove has been the scoring leader recently, averaging 28 points per game in the Warriors' last three games. Other players, including Will Cartright, Andrew Cartright and Chandler Foss, have played well at times, Parker said. Consistency will determine the fate of the season, Parker said.

"Who's going to be that catalyst? I think we could be a handful down the stretch, or we could struggle," Parker said.

* * *

Next week features a handful of games that could determine playoff seeding for a few central Maine teams. Here are a few of the games to watch:

Tuesday

* Hampden at Lawrence: The undefeated Broncos beat Lawrence by 25 points on Dec. 18 in a game that wasn't that close. Still, this game features the top two teams in the Eastern A standings.

(Continued on page 2)

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