Valle Crucis grabs tournament championship
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
For most of the boys’ middle school basketball tournament championship game, when Valle Crucis needed a basket, it generally turned to center Jeremy Ringler.
Ringler, the tallest player in the county league, scored 18 points in Valle Crucis’ 38-35 victory over Hardin Park at Lentz-Eggers Gym Tuesday. But it was a 3-point basket made by Bryce Wallace with 15 seconds left in the game that proved to be the final torpedo that sunk the Eagles.
Wallace’s basket gave the Cougars (15-2) a 36-34 lead. Hardin Park (13-4) still have a couple of chances to catch up, but could manage just a Corey West foul shot with 8.1 seconds left the rest of the game.
Byers Carney closed out the game with two foul shots with .1 seconds left, which gave the Cougars the victory.
“I’ve got to hand it to Bryce, he loves that shot and he literally will light it up,” Valle Crucis coach Will Derrick said. “He just takes it when he feels it and we give him the green light to shoot, so he put it in.”
While Wallace provided the final touch, Ringler provided the offensive foundation for the victory. Ringler made nine shots from the field, but none in the first quarter that saw Hardin Park take a 12-2 lead.
Ringler scored seven points in the second quarter, including an old-fashioned three-point play with 43.8 left that closed Hardin Park’s lead to 17-11. Hardin Park picked up offensive momentum in the first quarter, but made just 2-of-10 shots from the field in the second.
Valle Crucis opened the third quarter with a 8-0 run capped by a Ringler coast-to-coast, rebound-to-layup basket that put the Cougars in front for the first time 19-18. Another Ringler stickback put the Cougars up 23-18 before Hardin Park struck back with three points from Evan Suggs and two from West to pull to 23-22 going into the fourth.
“Jeremy Ringler was the one kid they didn’t have an answer for,” Derrick said. “When Jeremy didn’t do it, you had Byers picking up scraps underneath. He had the game of his life.”
Hardin Park went on a fourth quarter rally. Trailing 29-28, the Eagles got two foul shots fro West and a basket followed by a foul shot on a different possession to take a 33-29 lead.
Valle Crucis struck back with two free throws from Wallace, a basket from Carney and then Wallace’s 3-point bucket to help put the game away.
Carney added 10 points after making four shots from the field.
Hardin Park got 10 points from Evan Suggs and nine from West.
Valle Crucis boys 38, Hardin Park 35
Hardin Park (13-4)
Henderson 2 1-2 6, Suggs 3 4-8 10, West 1 7-11 9, Harrill 2 0-0 4, Sauls 3 0-0 6, Moffitt 0 0-0 0, Gilliam 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 12-20 35.
Valle Crucis (15-2)
Dhing 1 0-2 3, Grogitsky 0 0-2 0, Wallace 2 2-2 7, Carney 4 2-3 10, Ringler 9 1-1 19, Akers 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 5-9 38.
Hardin Park 12 5 5 13 — 35
Valle Crucis 2 9 12 15 — 38
3-point goals—Hardin Park 1 (Henderson), Valle crucis 1 (Wallace). Total fouls—Hardin Park 13, Valle Crucis 14.