PDT Sports Contributor
WAVERLY — When a talented team is clicking on all cylinders, the odds of winning go from slim to none very quickly.
That’s exactly what happened Friday night as top-seeded Valley came out firing by outscoring No. 9 West Union 26-7 in the opening quarter of play en route to a 91-58 victory in a Division III Southeast Sectional Final held at Waverly’s Downtown Gymnasium.
Indians coach Scott Rolfe was impressed with the way that his team shared the basketball and said they take pride in getting open looks for each other on the floor.
“That’s something that this team thrives on,” Rolfe said. “We had guys making hard cuts (toward the basket), and you are going to naturally making hard cuts if you know you are going to get the ball back.”
The crisp ball movement was evident throughout the night as Valley turned the ball over just eight times over the duration of the contest, with only one turnover coming in the first quarter.
“For as many possessions as we had, that’s a really impressive stat,” Rolfe said. “That was one of the keys, we took care of the basketball. But creating turnovers is what helps create our offense, that was one of the keys as well.”
The Indians created major havoc for the Dragons as Valley rendered it nearly impossible for West Union to get the basketball past the timeline.
Overall, the Dragons turned the ball over on each of their first six possessions of the contest. Valley took full advantage of its own ball pressure, ripping off a 14-2 lead less than five minutes into the contest.
By the end of the first quarter, the Indians forced 11 West Union turnovers and led 26-7 by the end of the opening stanza.
“Defensively, we created a lot of turnovers,” Rolfe said. “That’s something that we’ve talked about, extend their defense and turn up the pressure a little bit, which creates offense for us. You shoot a pretty good percentage when you are shooting layups, and we are really happy when we can get as many layups as we did tonight.”
In the second quarter, Hayden Dunn made his presence felt in the period as the 6-foot-4 senior scored seven of his 13 points in the frame, increasing the Indians lead to 48-23 at halftime.
In addition to the 13 points, Dunn paced Valley in the rebounding and passing categories with eight rebounds and six assists respectively.
“He’s been a consistent double-digit scorer for us,” Rolfe said. “He did a nice job and then we had others who made contributions for us as well.”
The Indians also got major contributions from Bryan Rolfe, Jordan West, Ethan Clark-Holbrook and Chris Flowers as all four players joined Dunn in the double-digit scoring column with 22, 20, 16, and 10 points respectively that headed a balanced scoring effort.
Scott Rolfe said the Indians helped extend the defense with their consistent shooting from the outside and that allowed for the excellent ball movement as a result.
“I think Jordan had three 3-pointers, Chris Flowers had two 3-pointers, so their shooting has been getting better and better as the season has been coming to an end,” Scott Rolfe said. “Bryan stepped up and had a big game tonight as far as creating shots for himself and overall, it was a pretty complete ballgame.”
The second half started off much like the first as Valley jumped on the Dragons yet again with a 16-6 run that put the Indians up by a staggering 66-29 margin midway through the third quarter.
Clark-Holbrook capped off the game with seven of his 16 points in the final quarter before mass substitutions began taking place.
With the win and another sectional title under its belt, Valley will move on to face No. 4 Coal Grove in the March 2 district semifinals at Ohio University’s Convocation Center The Hornets beat Nelsonville-York 52-47 in a sectional final Friday at Jackson High School.
Scott Rolfe said that he feels confident about his team’s chances if the Indians can shoot the ball like they have been lately.
“We’ve seen them both play,” Scott Rolfe said before knowing who Valley was playing next. “I think we have an opportunity to advance to the next game if we can shoot the way we did and play defense the way we did tonight. It’s going to be a tough out against whoever we play.”
West Union 7 16 17 18 — 58
Valley 26 22 24 18 — 91
West Union — Price 7-1-15, Snider 1-1-3, Franklin 1-0-2, Welch 1-0-3, Frost 3-0-7, Hall 3-0-6, Sininger 3-0-6, Sellars 4-0-8, Hinkle 2-4-8, Totals 25-6-58.
Valley — Clark-Holbrook 5-6-16, Flowers 4-0-10, Rolfe 9-4-22, Shope 3-0-6, Brown 1-0-2, West 8-1-20, Dunn 5-3-13, C. Miller 1-0-2, Totals 36-14-91.
3-Point Goals – West Union 2 (Welch, Frost); Valley 5 (West 3, Flowers 2).
Records – West Union 8-11; Valley 21-2.