Mogadore surges past Valley Christian in OT
By ERIC FORTUNE
Tuesday’s game against Mogadore was the perfect opportunity for the Valley Christian boys basketball to get back into a first-place tie in the Portage Trail Conference, County Tier.
The Eagles seized momentum, closing out the first half on a 14-3 run to build an 11-point lead at halftime.
But Mogadore’s Kyle Coffman got hot in the third quarter as the Wildcats outscored the Eagles 45-29 in the second half to escape with a 68-63 overtime victory.
“Offensively we’re fine, it’s really disappointing that we didn’t defend like we have,” Valley Christian coach Dolph Carroll said. “This is the first night we haven’t defended in I don’t know how long.”
In overtime, Mogadore led 64-58 before Valley Christian scored on a pair of Milan Square free throws with 35.4 seconds remaining.
About Coffman’s second half, Swarz said, “That got us jump-started obviously. What I was really happy with was that we didn’t panic coming out in the third quarter down 11.
“After giving up that 14-3 run. We didn’t panic and I think that is a sign of a good, mature team.”
Coffman finished with 19 points after scoring just two in the first half. He scored 12 of the Wildcats’ 19 third-quarter points.
Lukas Swartz led the Wildcats (10-2, 8-0) with 23 points. Six of those came in overtime.
“[Coffman] got us rolling,” Swartz said. “There are no 11-point plays. You just have to chip away, chip away.
“Once he got rolling, it opened up some scoring opportunities for other guys,” Swarz said. “We’ve been trying to take advantage of that all year.”
The Eagles (9-6, 6-2) used their length to disrupt a lot of what the Wildcats wanted to do in the first half, but they hung with Valley Christian.
“Their size and athletic ability cause you to hurry up a bit,” Swartz said. “That’s hard for us to simulate in practice.”
Mogadore tied it up at 20 all despite some shooting woes (10-of-26) at the 3:55 mark of the second quarter before the Eagles went on their run.
Mogadore scored the first seven points to start the second half before a Square bucket at the 3:40 mark stopped the bleeding.
Valley Christian built the advantage back to six only to see Coffman’s 3-pointer make it 43-42 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Square finished with a game-high 25 points. Melvin Neail added 23 for the Eagles.
Coffman gave the Wildcats their first lead at 50-48 since the opening minutes of the first quarter with six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“The league is great,” Carroll said. “You have to bring your ‘A’ game. If you don’t bring it every night, this is what happens.”
The Wildcats built out a 56-51 lead with 4:16 left in the fourth quarter, but Valley Christian rallied back to tie it up at 58 all and send it to overtime.