by Gregg Meadows
Coach Todd McLoughlin’s Tri-Valley boy’s basketball team is just one step away from capturing a share of the 2019-20 Muskingum Valley League hoops title, after their decisive 59-41 win Tuesday night, Feb. 11 against the John Glenn Muskies in New Concord at a jam-packed ‘Fish Tank.’
The important victory kept the Scotties tied with Sheridan for first place in the MVL standings, with one game remaining – a Feb. 21 date with visiting Philo on Senior Night in Dresden. Sheridan completed their regular season on Tuesday night, clinching a share of the conference crown – and finishing 14-2 in league play – with their overtime win at Maysville.
In the John Glenn win, the Scotties saw the host Muskies sprint out to an early 7-2 lead, punctuated by a Devin Burris slam dunk midway through the first frame, forcing TV skipper Todd McLoughlin to call a time-out to sit his troops down for a talk.
The short break on the bench worked for the visitors, especially for Scottie sophomore Luke Lyall, whose five straight points – on a trey, then a lay-up off a nice Jalen Goins-Chandler assist – tied the contest at 7-7, before Muskie senior Reece Perkins’ two-pointer put the home team back up 9-7. It would be the Muskie’s last lead of the contest.
Luke Lyall put the Dawgs up for good at the 1:16 mark of the opening period, when he drilled another three-point bomb from the top of the key for a 10-9 lead. Scottie standout senior Keaton Williams then delivered a lay-up off a Muskie turnover, and from that point on, Tri-Valley never looked back, taking a 12-11 lead into the second quarter of action.
The second quarter was all Tri-Valley – and perhaps the Dawgs most dominant eight-minute stretch to date in the 2019-20 season – as the Scotties came out smokin’ and stayed hot the entire eight-minute session, scoring on eight of their 11-second stanza possessions to take a 30-17 lead into the halftime lockerroom.
The big second period started with a Keaton Williams two-pointer, then a Skye Bryan layup off a Muskie turnover for a 16-11 Tri-Valley lead. After an Evan Williams two-pointer for the hosts, the Scotties countered with yet another big Luke Lyall trey, then another netter for the hard-working Williams off a nifty Bryan dish, which was followed up on TV’s next possession by a Jack Lyall baseline jumper that gave the black and gold their first double-digit lead of the contest at 23-13 at the 3:03 mark of the second quarter.
The host Muskies scored just four more points the rest of the first half, while the hard-working Scotties saw steady sophomore talent and season-long important contributor Jalen Goins-Chandler knife through the JG defense for a lay-up, then Luke Lyall swish his amazing fourth three-point first-half laser for a 28-15 TV lead at 1:19 of the first half.
Super-soph’ Lyall then capped his incredible opening two-quarters of hardwood heroics with a buzzer-beating jumper just inside the arc to give the black and gold a big 30-17 advantage, as the two perennial Muskingum Valley League powers jogged to the lockerroom with different halftime messages on the minds of their respective coaches.
TV sophomore Luke Lyall, 18 pts in John Glenn win
The Scotties ‘stayed the course’ in the third quarter, withstanding a John Glenn charge to begin the second half, then righting the ship to maintain their important double-digit lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Host John Glenn came out of the halftime lockerroom to the tune of an 8-0 run, slicing the TV advantage to a 30-25 count just three possessions into the second half.
But that’s when Scottie senior standout lefty Skye Bryan – just as he’s done all season – came to the rescue.
A Bryan steal and layup halted the Muskie comeback at 5:09 of the third quarter, but a JG fielder from senior Ben Judd still had the home team within striking distance at 32-27. A two-pointer from TV big man talent Jakob Frueh edged the Scotties further ahead again, but a pair of Muskie charity tosses had the pesky hosts – under the tutelage of former Scottie hoop standout Eric Sheck – still hanging around at 34-29 at the 2:35 mark of the third quarter.
That’s when the black and gold put the hammer down.
A key three-point looper from the always steady sophomore starter Ty Smith, then five straight points to close the quarter from his backcourt counterpart – standout Skye Bryan – saw the visiting Scotties hold a confident double-digit edge over the host Muskies, up 42-31 heading into the fourth quarter.
The large John Glenn home crowd was hoping for a fourth-quarter comeback over their rival neighbors to the east – and a different result from the ‘Round One’ contest played back on Jan. 7 in Dresden at The Dawg House, when the host Scotties ‘squished the fish’ to the tune of a 52-36 count, thanks to a combined 27 points from the Lyall brothers – Jack and Luke – who combined for 27 points in the win.
But a Muskie rally was not in the cards on this night, as Tri-Valley’s starting five all had scorebook entries in the decisive fourth quarter, holding their ground – and the lead – for the final 59-41 tally.
Bryan laid his stake as one of the league’s best performers with his confident six fourth-frame counters, while senior standout Jack Lyall added four important points to his scorebook contributions in the big win, and brother Luke his final two free throws for his game-high total of 18.
Scottie senior Keaton Williams won’t soon forget his final trip to the Fish Tank, with a win and a final fourth-quarter counter.
Sophomore stalwart Ty Smith’s early fourth-quarter trey gave his team an 18-point lead, one that the visitors would eventually keep throughout the final eight minutes of play, for the final 59-41 tally.
Luke Lyall’s yeoman 18 counters and Skye Bryan’s big 17 points led the winners, who completed the rare JG Muskie season sweep with plenty of help from Keaton Williams’ eight points (and his usual boatload of defense) which was accompanied as well by an all-around solid floor-play effort from always reliable senior Jack Lyall’s six points– and capped by an important six points from reliable, sophomore floor-runner Ty Smith.
TV senior Skye Bryan, 17 pts in John Glenn win
John Glenn was led in scoring by Ben Judd’s 15 and Devan Burris with 12.
Coach Chris Garber’s TV junior varsity squad was defeated by the host Muskies in the reserve contest by a 39-22 count. Jason Pletcher’s six points were high for the Scotties, while Blade Barclay’s 10 markers and Chris Toom’s six counters led the winning John Glenn JV contingent.
Tri-Valley – currently tied with MVL co-champ Sheridan in the loss column – has a single game remaining on their 2019-20 regular-season schedule to settle the score for MVL bragging rights, with conference foe Philo headed to Dresden – and the Dawg Pound – on Friday, February 21, in a game that was originally set for a season-ending Feb. 14 date.
The Scotties are currently tied for the Muskingum Valley League lead – in the loss column – with the Sheridan Generals, who as mentioned earlier in this post, completed their regular season on Tuesday night, clinching a share of the conference crown – and finishing 14-2 in league play – with their overtime win at Maysville.
Both TVHS and Philo coaches agreed to move the regular second ending match-up of TV and Philo on Feb. 14 at TVHS, to Friday, Feb. 21 in Dresden.
“The game was moved as a result of the long layoff prior to the start of the post-season – and lack of make-up games due to the mild winter,” said TVHS Athletic Director Erin Nezbeth, whose words were echoed by Philo athletic administrators as well.
See you February 21 Scottie boys basketball fans, for the Senior Night TV vs Philo regular season, home finale.