Valley Springs hands Manila 64-52 season ending loss in Regional Tourney

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Valley Springs drained 18-20 fourth quarter free throws to break open a close game and went on to defeat Manila 64-52 Thursday night in the Region 3 Tournament at Mountain View, ending the Lions' hopes of a state tournament appearance.

The two teams battled to a 35-35 tie after three quarters, but the Tigers outscored Manila 9-1 to begin the final frame, taking a 44-36 lead with 5:36 left. Caleb Reinhart knocked down a free throw and scored on a driving lay-up to slice the lead to seven at the 4:20 mark. The Lions came away with a steal and Reinhart attempted to pull Manila to within five, but failed to connect and was called for a foul going for the rebound. Lion Coach Lee Wimberley, thinking Reinhart had been fouled on the shot, protested the call and was assessed a technical foul.

Valley Springs' Ryan Greenhaw went to the charity stripe and sank four consecutive free throws to give the Tigers a 50-39 advantage, and Manila would never get closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

"We let them have too many easy baskets early in the fourth quarter and we missed too many free throws," said Lion Coach Lee Wimberley. "But the bottom line is I hurt us with the technical foul. Valley Springs made all four free throws which put them up 11, and that was pretty much the game."

The Lions trailed much of the first quarter before overtaking the Tigers with back to back Kyle Joyner buckets to grab an 11-10 edge heading to the second stanza.

Valley Springs built a seven point lead, 20-13, midway through the second period on a pair of buckets from Wyatt Harness and one from sophomore Dalton Hogue. Manila fought back, scoring six straight points. Kyler Williams wrapped a pair of field goals around two Thomas Davis free throws to slice the Tiger lead to 20-19 at the 2:03 mark. Hogue responded for the Tigers with back to back buckets before Zac Riley nailed a pair of charity tosses to cut the Valley Springs lead to 24-21 at the half.

Harness began the third quarter with a three point play, followed by a 15-foot jumper by Keeton Tennison to increase the Tiger lead to 29-21 with 4:20 left in the third quarter. Freshman Patrick Tanner buried a three pointer to spark a Lion comeback, which saw Manila pull to within one, 33-32, on a driving lay-in by Davis at the 1:22 mark. Tanner struck with his second three point bomb with 1:04 left in the quarter to give Manila its first lead, 35-33, since the early part of the game. Hayden Alsup scored for the Tigers with 55 seconds left to tie the game entering the final frame.

"We really battled, like we always do," said Wimberley. "Hogue, their sophomore, really hurt us off the bench, but we knew he was a good player. I think overall we had an incredible season. Most people picked us fourth in the conference, but our kids weren't having any of that. I don't have words to express how much I appreciate their effort this season. They are some of the best kids I've ever been around."

Joyner led Manila with 12 points. Reinhart and Williams scored nine points apiece while Davis and Riley pitched in eight points each. Tanner closed out the Lion scoring with six points. Manila hit 14-26 free throws and made four three pointers.

Harness scored a game high 20 points to lead Valley Springs while Hogue and Tennison tallied 15 and 14 points respectively. The Tigers hit a scorching 85 percent of their free throw attempts, going 23-27 on the night.

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