GREENFIELD – Nodaway Valley’s hot start Wednesday helped the Wolverines roll through Bedford (6-15) in the first round of Class 1A Substate 7 play with a 66-28 win.
The Wolverines (14-8) opened with Nate Russell draining a 3-pointer from the wing to set the tone of the game. Nodaway Valley’s defense came out hot as well, not allowing Bedford to score until Conner Nally hit a shot at 4:32 in the first.
Toby Bower knocked down a three after a Bulldog turnover, following Nally’s score, to force the first of four first-half timeouts.
“I feel like our first quarter is always our strongest quarter. Most games you look at, we’re pretty strong in the first quarter,” Nodaway Valley co-head coach James Larson said. “I’m not sure if we’re just more mentally focused, ready to go, but any time you get off to a good lead and get into that position, it’s only going to help you throughout the game.”
Bower finished with a game-high 15 points, knocking down three 3-pointers.
Nally’s two points were the only Bedford points through the first quarter. Nodaway Valley’s offense rolled to 14 points in the first quarter, capped off by a Mason Menefee three.
The Wolverines kept up the pressure on defense with the press by forcing 10 turnovers in the second quarter alone.
“We were really happy with two points in the first quarter,” Larson said. “We were really happy with the score playing defense. Yeah, we had some breakdowns at some points, but nine points, can’t really complain too much.”
Nodaway Valley again held Bedford to limited scoring through the start of the second quarter. The Bulldogs hit their first shot of the second quarter from Gage Godsey at 3:37. Bedford went on to score on three of four possessions to force a Nodaway Valley timeout.
After the break, Bedford didn’t score in the remaining three minutes of the half.
Offensively, Nodaway Valley started to spread the ball around as shots fell from all parts of the floor. Six different Wolverines scored in the second quarter to account for 16 points.
A 25-5 third quarter sealed the game as defense led to offense for Nodaway Valley. The Wolverine press continued to force bad passes as Nodaway Valley guards trapped defenders along the baseline in the back-court and near half-court.
Matthew Weber scored seven points in the third quarter, finishing with 14 points and two 3-pointers.
With a momentum-carrying win on its side, Nodaway Valley heads to Earlham today (Thursday) to face Earlham (12-7) for the second time this season. The Cardinals won 52-47 in Jan. 30′s overtime game.
“They’re going to be stronger with (the press) than Bedford tonight,” Larson said. “We need to get a little pressure, make somebody feel uncomfortable. Even just rushing them into taking a quick shot, that’s always a good thing with the press.”
UP NEXT – Nodaway Valley moves on to the District 13, Substate 7 quarterfinals against Earlham in Earlham at 7 p.m. today (Thursday).
Nodaway Valley 66, Bedford 28
BEDFORD (28) — (FG FT PTS) Totals — 10 4-8 28. Conner Nally 2 2-2 7, Owen Lucas 2 0-0 6, Tristen Cummings 1 2-4 4, Logan Bucher 1 0-2 3, Micah Nally 1 0-0 2, Gage Godsey 1 0-0 2, Quentin King 1 0-0 2. 3-point goals — 4 (Lucas 2, C. Nally 1, Bucher 1). Team fouls — 10. Fouled out — None.
NODAWAY VALLEY (66) — (FG FT PTS) Totals — 24 5-6 66. Toby Bower 6 0-0 15, Matthew Weber 5 2-2 14, Mason Menefee 4 1-2 11, Nate Russell 3 0-0 9, Boston DeVault 2 2-2 7, Avery Phillippi 3 0-0 7, Mason mather 1 0-0 3. 3-point goals — 13 (Russell 3, Bower 3, Weber 2, Menefee 2, DeVault 1, Phillippi 1, Mather 1). Team fouls — 7. Fouled out — None.