MANLIUS — It had been 10 days since the Bureau Valley Storm won on the road at state-ranked Sterling Newman. To say they were anxious to get back on the court, and play against someone other than themselves in practice, would be an understatement.
On Friday night, the Storm showed no rust from the long layoff, scoring the first 11 points against Erie and never looking back in a 58-28 victory in Three Rivers North Division action at the Storm Cellar.
The Storm have had three games postponed in January, which will all be made up in a busy month of February, right before postseason play starts. Head coach Jason Marquis said his team has stayed focused during this stretch. The Storm have not lost a game in 2014, with Friday’s victory being their seventh straight.
“It was a great victory for us,” said junior Blake Balensiefen, who led BV with eight rebounds against the Cardinals. “Coming out and not playing for two weeks, we were pretty excited. We were chomping at the bit, as coach would say.”
The Storm (16-7, 7-0) had all five of their starters reach the scoring column in the first quarter, led by nine points from Tommy Johnston. Their defensive effort was just as impressive, allowing only three shots attempted total to Erie (1-21, 0-8) in the entire period. The Cardinals were also forced into 12 turnovers, which BV turned into numerous transition baskets.
“I was a little nervous that the intensity wouldn’t be there but it was,” said Johnston, who scored a game-high 16 points.
Johnston’s put-back with three seconds left in the first put the Storm up 22-4. BV then extended their lead to 39-9 by halftime, giving Marquis an opportunity to rotate his entire bench throughout the second half.
“We have such good participants from the bench, it’s a testament to them and their willingness to be a part and be active when the minutes aren’t there,” Marquis said. “I think you see the reversal too, our first five are just as active communicating, and I think they are seeing that is what good teams do.”
The victory keeps BV alone in first place in the Three Rivers North halfway through their conference schedule. A key game against Fulton awaits on Tuesday night and a rematch with Newman will happen on Senior Night, Feb. 18.
“The kids have put themselves in good position (in the conference),” Marquis said. “But, at the end of the day, who’s in first at the end of February means a lot more than who’s in first at the end of January.”
Notes: The Storm dropped the sophomore contest 49-25. Trey Dale had 13 points for BV…The home date with Amboy that was postponed on Jan. 24 has been moved to Feb. 10.