In the short, 11-year history of Tri-Valley High School’s ‘new’ gymnasium, affectionately dubbed – The Dawg House – there have been a bounty of Scottie hoops memorable moments to include thrilling buzzer-beating victories, record-breaking performances, MVL title-deciding battles and – understandably – a few heartbreaking defeats.
Not coincidentally, nearly all of those past unforgettable ‘Dawg House’ cage classics since 2008 have involved chief Scottie conference cage foes, the John Glenn Muskies and Sheridan Generals.
Friday night’s, February 8, Tri-Valley vs Sheridan, late regular season matchup only added to the illustrious history of the three MVL boys basketball hardwood titan encounters, as the host Scotties and visiting Generals gave their respective fans their money’s worth – producing yet another ‘classic’ that both schools will no doubt talk about for a long time, with the outcome this time, tipping in favor of the black and gold.
For the record, Coach Todd McLoughlin’s Scotties defeated Coach Doug Fisher’s Sheridan Generals – 62-57 – in front of a boisterous, jam-packed, home Dawg House crowd, elevating the Dawgs into an MVL second place tie standing with the Generals, as both teams left the floor with two losses — still two games back, however, of unbeaten, Muskingum Valley League leading John Glenn.
The Scotties match up with the Muskies on Friday night, February 15 in Dresden, while John Glenn and Sheridan will meet in their regular season finale on Saturday night, February 16, in Thornville. For the Dawgs to snatch a share of what would be their third consecutive Muskingum Valley League title, they need to defeat the Muskies Friday night in Dresden, then hope for a Sheridan win over JG the next night, on the Generals home floor.
In the TV vs SHS showdown, both the Scotties and Generals were minus the services of a starting, double-figure scorer in this key late-season meeting, as the Dawgs were missing junior standout regular Jack Lyall due to an ankle injury, and the Generals, their 6’ 7” senior post player, Grant Heileman, whose foot injury prevented him from suiting up for the road trip to Dresden.
Nevertheless, both teams dug down and produced yet another TV vs SHS dandy. Earlier in the season, In ‘Round One’ of MVL play, back on December 7 in Thornville, the visiting Scotties battled the tall and talented Sheridan General squad and fell by a 65-46 score. Round 2, was much different, however.
The host Scotties jumped out to a 12-8 lead at the first break, thanks to eight quick points from junior scorer Keaton Williams and a pair of lay-ups from lightning-quick junior guard, Skye Bryan. Noteworthy for the visiting Generals was starter Luken Hill’s two personal fouls in the first minute of play, sending the tall and talented General forward to the bench.
The second stanza was all Tri-Valley, as senior guard Matt King elevated his game to throw a charge into his team with a ten-point second quarter performance, on the strength of a pair of treys, a lay-up and two charity tosses, while Williams threw in four more counters as well to help the host black and gold to a 30-19 halftime lead.
The Generals weren’t going away however, as SHS big man Adam Boyle muscled his way inside – and showed some great touch as well – to pour in nine third period points. That – coupled with six markers from standout guard Ethan Heller – got Sheridan back into the game.
Tri-Valley kept its lead in the third quarter thanks to some terrific play from freshman starter Ty Smith, who entertained the big crowd with hustle on the defensive end, and a pair of athletic drives to the hoop that brought the Dawg House to its feet. Skye Bryan kept his hot hand going as well in the third stanza, contributing five more points that gave the Scotties a 43-36 lead heading into what would be a wild fourth quarter of action.
Things did not go the Scotties way to start the fourth frame, as three straight TV turnovers resulted in six straight points for the Generals as – to no one’s surprise – it was game on.
Tri-Valley maintained its lead until late in the contest, when Sheridan’s Nate Johnson’s two free throws gave the visitors their first lead of the contest at 53-52 with 2:44 left. The Scotties came out of a time-out after giving up the lead with a big answer, as senior forward Kaden Lawler found a streaking Bryan for a big-time lay-up, and the lead for good for the home team.
Clinging to a 56-55 lead with just 1:15 left in the game, TV’s Matt King stepped to the line for a pair of critical charity tosses. King swished the first one, then missed the second one, but the ever-hustling Skye Bryan tip-toed the baseline to steal away the biggest rebound of the game, as the Scotties 11 of 13 free throw fourth quarter show salted the game away, giving the home team a victory on their home floor in what was their best overall effort so far of the 2018-19 season.
Williams and Bryan shared team scoring honors for the victorious Scotties with 16 big points apiece, while King’s best performance of the season produced 15 points for TV, who also got an important nine markers from Smith, and six key counters from freshman Luke Lyall.
Ethan Heller’s game-high 18 points paced Sheridan, who also got 12 points from Coasta Coconis, and nine apiece from Luken Hill and Adam Boyle.
Tri-Valley took the junior varsity contest as well, with Coach Chris Garber’s reserve squad earning an entertaining, down-to-the-wire 35-34 win. Jordan Pantaleo’s 15 points paced the Scottie JV’s; Connor Robertson’s 16 points led Sheridan.
In the freshman game – which tipped off the tripleheader of hoops action at the Dawg House – Coach Jeff Nezbeth’s Scottie frosh squad defeated Sheridan 53-30, and were led by Jason Pletcher’s 14 points, 13 apiece from Alex Williams and Luke Hill, and nine points from Drew Burkhart.
Up next for the Scotties is an important Tuesday night trip to Philo, to battle a tough Electric cage squad that has given both John Glenn and Sheridan good games.