By Mark Robinson
The Greenbrier West basketball team hosted Valley High School Tuesday evening, in a rematch of a game earlier this season that Valley won convincingly.
This time, West gave them their money’s worth, running neck and neck for three quarters and most of the fourth, before falling 49-42. Close games can be decided at the end by who is behind by a point or two, and must foul to have a chance of catching up. This time it was West that was behind, just a little. They fouled, and Valley hit its foul shots.
West led 9-4 and 13-8 early, but Valley tied it at 13 all. West jumped back up 19-15, and led 21-18 at the half. That lead held at 24-20, but Valley took the lead at 26-24. With seven minutes remaining in the game, it was tied 33 all. Valley led by a bucket or two over the next several minutes, but with 1:16 left, West tied it at 42-42. Valley hit two free throws with 49 seconds remaining, and West had to foul from that point on. Valley hit all of its free throws except one, and that gave them the game.
Noah Midkiff led West with 17 points. Spencer Dean led Valley with 14. Hitting
nine of his 11 fourth-quarter free throw attempts, he kept West from catching up at the end.
Greenbrier West Coach Joey Fitzwater, after the game, said, “We played much better. If we come out like that and play with that intensity for all the games, we’re going to be OK. We just couldn’t convert down the stretch near the end of the game. Got behind, had to foul. They go to the line and make the free throws. We don’t make shots or get a chance to go to the free throw line. You get beat down the stretch … We’re so young. We just have one senior playing now with Hunter out. We’re so young. Sophomores. They don’t understand. I think they rush a little bit, instead of being more patient. That’ll come with more maturity. We have 10 games in now, so hopefully it will come the last 10 games.”