Mounties Hold Off Greenwave

By John Goolsby

Irondale – Shades Valley held off a second-half comeback by Leeds and escaped with a 55-53 win at home Thursday night.

Valley entered the non-region contest with a 5-5 record and a win over Center Point Monday night. The Greenwave came into the game with a 2-5 record and a loss to Oak Mountain Tuesday night.

The first period was a defensive affair, and Shades Valley closed out the first eight minutes with a 10-7 lead. Freshman Jeremiah Williams ignited the Mountie offense with two three-pointers late in the period.

Twelve of Shades Valley’s seventeen second-quarter points came from the free throw line. Sean Crawford made four trips to the charity stripe and came away with eight points. Leeds kept the game close and went into the locker room trailing by six, 27-21.

Shades Valley’s Ethan Johnson came up with six big points in the third period and was a defensive presence in the paint. Leeds continued to play hard, and behind two three-pointers by KD Jones, another three-pointer by Ronald Miller, and five points by Tabari Davis, cut the Mountie lead to three, 40-37, as the two teams headed to the final period.

In the fourth quarter, the Mounties saw their lead evaporate and found themselves trailing, 43-44, after a Jones three-pointer with 4:38 remaining in the game. The game was a back-and-forth affair over the next three minutes with the two teams swapping the lead. A Miller three gave Leeds their final lead of the night, 51-50, with 1:33 to play.

Shades Valley regained the lead with 1:11 to play on two Crawford free throws. A solid defensive effort by the Valley defense and three of four free throws from Crawford down the stretch preserved the win for the Mounties, 55-53.

While Mountie head coach Audwin Howard was happy with the win, he sees room for improvement with his team. “We’ve got to learn to close out games, and we aren’t doing the simple things,” he said. “We just didn’t play our best brand of basketball.”

Leeds head coach and Trussville native Jeremiah Millington was pragmatic about the loss. “We had the lead with about a minute to play, and they made the plays, and we didn’t,” he said. “Free throws and a slow start hurt us.”

The Greenwave struggled from the free throw line, making only 6 of 15 attempts.

Shades Valley capitalized on their trips to the line and made 27 of 32 attempts. “We shot the ball well from the free throw line.” Howard said.

Crawford led the Mounties with 22 points, Johnson added 10 points and Williams chipped in 9 points.

Jones led the Greenwave with 14 points, Davis contributed 13 points, and Miller added 6 points.

The Greenwave falls to 2-6 and squares off against Minor.

Shades Valley improves to 6-5 and will play Huffman Friday night.

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