ERIE — The Bureau Valley Storm rode a hot start to a 58-56 overtime victory against the Knoxville Blue Bullets to place third Monday night at the 12th annual Warkins Cardinal Classic held at Erie High School.
Bureau Valley jumped to a 9-0 lead to open the game and led 36-22 at the half. The Storm, however, faced some adversities in the second half which would continue for much of the game as Knoxville steadily gained ground on the Storm until they went on a 12-0 offensive explosion beginning at the 6:38 of the fourth quarter.
Knoxville freshmen guard Tyler Houston took advantage of BV turnovers and lead the Blue Bullets during the run scoring four of his game high 33 points in the stretch.
“We had 12 turnovers and seven of those were in the fourth quarter and overtime, so we need to get better at closing out games, that’s no mystery,” BV coach Jason Marquis said. “We were up all throughout the game and let them go up late and gave their best players some good shots and let them get to the line.”
Knoxville took its first lead of the game with 21.6 seconds left to play in the fourth quarter on a layup by senior forward Andrew Hale, who was fouled on the shot and missed the one and one.
The missed free throw was huge as it kept the door open for junior guard Parker Neuhalfen to hit a 10-foot jumper from the baseline with 6.4 seconds left to tie to contest and send it into overtime.
The opening three minutes of overtime saw each team trading buckets when the pivotal play of the game came with 1:02 left to play as Houston cut hard through the lane towards the basket when junior Payton Shipp stood firm and took his second charge of the game, negating the bucket by Houston and preserving the BV lead for the remainder of the contest.
“Shippy (Shipp) isn’t afraid to take charges, but he’s missed quite a bit. He has the worst luck in the world, but talk about a kid who knows his role, does it tremendously well and steps in to make a play like that. That’s a big, big, big play,” Marquis said.
BV jumped out to an early 9-0 lead at the 4:15 mark in the first quarter as senior forward David Miller and junior guards Tommy Johnston and Neuhalfen all added buckets during the opening run.
“Our execution the first half has been as good has it has been all year. Knoxville is a really good team with some really good players, and they are coached well so I thought our kids came out and executed tremendously well with the different forms of adversity that they’re dealing with,” Marquis said. “I think it’s a testament to the character of our kids that they came out and were well prepared.”
Shipp gave the Storm an 18-point lead on a layup at the 3:02 mark of the third making the score 33-15 as the BV offense continued to click throughout the first half
BV handled the ball well throughout the first half reversing the ball and getting open looks on crisp passes as they looked to be in control at the half leading 36-22.
“We talked a lot about poise and patience, we put two numbers up on the board and we wanted to give up single digits on the offensive boards and give up single digits in turnovers,” Marquis said.
The Storm offense was spread around as Neuhalfen led the storm with 18, followed by Johnston (14), junior guard Josh Mead (9) and Miller (8).
Notes: Neuhalfen was voted by coaches and members of the media to be a part of the 12th annual Warkins Cardinal Classic all-tournament team.
“Parker’s a wonderful basketball player and even a better leader,” Marquis said.