GREENFIELD – Nodaway Valley boys basketball’s wire-to-wire win Friday over Lenox (5-4) was a bounce-back game after a disappointing loss against Mount Ayr to return to action earlier in the week.
In the 64-39 win over the Tigers, Nodaway Valley (6-4) started the game with a focus the group has been hoping to maintain for four quarters all season.
“What I wanted to see from the guys was having that mental focus, attacking, being aggressive,” Nodaway Valley co-head coach James Larson said. “Attacking them on the offensive end, attacking them on the defensive end, blitzing them a little bit and getting them out in pressure.”
Finishing as the lead scorer, Avery Phillippi attacked offensively, the way Larson wanted. He finished with a game-high 21 points.
The Wolverines started with a 9-2 run to force Lenox head coach Curtis Fisher to call a timeout two minutes into the game.
Fisher said he told the his five guys on the floor there was a lot of time in the game remaining and his team is good enough to make a comeback.
Coming out of the break, Nodaway Valley didn’t allow Lenox to breathe, implementing its patented press to force the Tigers to play fast. The Wolverines’ defense continued to create turnovers and easy scoring opportunities for the offense, leading to an 18-3 lead and another Lenox timeout at 3:47.
The Wolverines took a 26-9 lead on a 3-pointer from Mason Menefee at the buzzer.
The Nodaway Valley defense in the second quarter ramped things up, forcing four consecutive Lenox turnovers to begin the back end of the first half.
Fisher said Nodaway Valley was able to keep Lenox off balance offensively.
“Offensively, we just didn’t score it enough to really get it going,” Fisher said. “... Our shots just didn’t go in. We had guys attacking, our shots just rolled in-and-out. It’s just one of those nights.”
Samson Adams was the leading scorer for Lenox with 12 points.
The lead swelled to 20 points entering the second half at 34-14, where it would continue to expand to nearly 30 points throughout the second half as the bench rotated in more frequently, giving the Wolverines a spark as things lulled with a large lead.
“I want to give a shoutout to Evan Forcht, coming off the bench. He gave us great minutes tonight getting rebounds being active, being aggressive,” Larson said. “Matthew Weber gave us good minutes for us too. ... Nate Russell couldn’t get anything to fall, but he had five assists and was boxing his tail out.”
The trio combined for 11 rebounds, seven points and five assists.
Lenox had opportunities to score as point guard and leading scorer Keaton England wasn’t able to find openings in the Wolverine defense.
“They did a good job taking Keaton (England) out of the game, face-guarding him and making him work a lot,” Fisher said.
England finished with three points on the day.
Larson, however, said he wants to see the group maintain the focus from the beginning of the game where they allowed 14 points throughout the game. Nodaway Valley let up 25 points in the second half.
“I think we got back into the right direction where we were headed after that Mount Ayr game, being aggressive, taking it to them,” Larson said. “It’s still something I think that we need to learn because I think we’ve had too many games where we’ve just maintained. We maintained the lead and not really extended it. Learning to end a team and not give them any kind of confidence. That’s something we need to continue learning how to do.”
NV boys blow past Clarke
GREENFIELD – Clarke’s inability to finish on offense led to a big win for the Wolverines Saturday afternoon, taking down the Indians (3-4) 62-36.
Leading 19-10, the Wolverines opened the second quarter with a 9-0 run and didn’t let their hold on the game slip. Clarke’s scoring touch was found briefly in the third, but Nodaway Valley was able to match it without issue.
Phillippi had a career day, scoring 22 points with seven rebounds. Boston DeVault had 13 points and Toby Bower scored 12.
The Wolverines had 18 steals and capitalized on 27 turnovers by Clarke. NV had just six turnovers.
UP NEXT – Lenox travels to Bedford Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Nodaway Valley 64, Lenox 39
LENOX (39) — (FG FT PTS) Totals — 18 3-9 39. Samson Adams 6 0-0 12, Rex Hoffman 4 1-3 9, Chase Johnston 2 0-0 4, Isaac Grundman 2 0-1 4, Keaton England 1 1-1 3, Keigan Kitzman 1 1-3 3, Cullen Wood 1 0-1 2, Owen Junker 1 0-0 2. 3-point goals — 0. Team fouls — 9. Fouled out — None.
NODAWAY VALLEY (64) — (FG FT PTS) Totals — 24 8-17 64. Avery Phillippi 8 2-3 21, Toby Bower 7 0-2 14, Mason Menefee 4 -1 12, Boston DeVault 3 3-4 10, Matthew Weber 1 1-2 4, Evan Forcht 0 3-5 3. 3-point goals — 7 (Philippi 3, Menefee 2, DeVault 1, Weber 1). Team fouls — 13. Fouled out — None.