Happy Valley Middle posts big win over the Cougars
Published 9:37 am Friday, January 6, 2023
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By Ron Marvel
In middle school action Thursday night, the Warrior hosted the Sullivan Central Middle School Cougars in conference play, the game turned into a heated battle that wouldn’t be decided until the final minutes.
Happy Valley would jump out to a quick 10-0 lead fueled by seven points by Grady Goulds who would serve all night as the fuel to make the Warriors engine go, after a running floater by Goulds, point guard Jacob Sims would steal the ball off an outlet pass and calmy drain a three-pointer finishing off the Warriors quick start. The Cougars would be able to get on the board until the 1:23 mark of the first period when Cougar Vance Braelyn would hit back-to-back layups to cut the score to 10-4. Tyler Berry would go to his favorite move, the Pro-Hop to push the lead to 14-4. The Cougars would then respond with a couple of short jumpers to cut the lead to six before a Lane Parker steal and layup would push the Warriors advantage back to 10. The Cougars would simply not wilt under the consistent Warrior pressure as Kam Hilliard would heat up hitting three three-pointers to cut the lead down to just two points as the two teams would head into the locker room 21-19.
Both teams would come out a little tentative going the first three minutes without scoring, Happy Valley would miss a couple of opportunities off missed free-throws but, Berry would get the Warriors going as he stepped in the passing lane and grabbed the steal, the big man would finish it off with a pretty overhand layup in traffic to make the score 23-19 at 4:51. Gould would hit his free throws to push the lead to seven before a Cougar three-pointer at the 2:20 mark of the third period. Jacob Sims simply put was pesky all night like a gnat that you can’t kill and won’t leave you alone; he would push the lead back to seven points, 29-22, off an offensive rebound and put-back. The Cougars would hit a layup and second three-pointer to cut the lead down to 31-27 heading into the final period.
Berry would use his Pro-Hop again to extend the lead to 33-27 and then hit a 14 -foot jumper to push the lead all the way to nine points, 39-30 at the 4:25 mark. The Cougars would cut that lead down to five off a couple of jumpers but a smart play off an in-bound pass from Goulds to Berry would serve to put the game out of reach at the 1:44 mark. The Cougars would hit a late three to cut it to five but would get no closer.
Forward Tyler Berry shared his thought after the game, “defense wins games; when you feel bad keep pushing.” He would also talk about Coach Dakota Cochran’s final game before he heads to basic training with the United States Army “it’s pretty rough, I have played for him since I was little. It’s emotional. This game means a lot,” Head Coach Carson Torbert discussed his team’s efforts in the win “it goes to the players tonight, it hurts to see Dakota go but as you see tonight his leadership set the foundation for these players to be successful.”