Most Viewed Stories
Round One goes to River Valley
Falcons use 4th quarter surge to dispatch Honkers
A loud, capacity crowd helped set the scene at Falcon Gymnasium, and for the first 28 minutes it looked as if Thursday night's Tri-County Conference clash between Yuba City High and cross-town rival River Valley was going down to the wire.
As both school's student sections cheered the teams on, the first three-plus quarters saw six lead changes, a handful of ties and no team build a lead greater than four points.
However, that all changed in the final four minutes.
After building a three-point heading into the fourth quarter, the Falcons finally broke the contest open late by scoring the final eight points of the night to pick up a 53-41 victory over the Honkers.
The win was just River Valley's second in 17 all-time meetings against Yuba City, and just like after last year's victory, RV's student section stormed the court in celebration once the final buzzer sounded.
"It doesn't matter if it's for first place or for last place, it's always an emotional game because it's a rivalry," River Valley coach Brad McIntire said. "It's a great atmosphere and great for the community. People love to come to this game because it's great high school basketball."
A tightly-contested game throughout, the Falcons broke open a 34-34 tie thanks to a 9-0 run midway through the final period.
A jumper by Jordan Noall, and a pair of putbacks by Stuart Bradley and Cris Lamas keyed the spurt, but Yuba City answered back with a 3-pointer by Travis Blas and a pair of free throws by Taylor Elkins to close the gap to 45-41 with 1:12 remaining.
Then came the play of the night.
With Yuba City in possession and looking to cut into the lead, a turnover led to a quick pass ahead to junior T.J. Dove, who threw down a one-handed dunk on a fast break that all but put the game away with 50 seconds remaining.
Defense was the key for the Falcons in the fourth, as they held the Honkers to 3-of-15 shooting and forced six turnovers while outscoring their rivals 19-10.
"The half-court trap changed the game," McIntire said. "We had to give them a different look defensively and we held it for the right time."
Bradley led all scorers with 13 points, while Dove was right behind him with 12. Lamas added 10 points and eight rebounds, and Noall finished the night with eight points and eight boards.
"We pressed them, got a lead and them held them off," Bradley said. "It was a team win tonight. We couldn't have done it without the whole team."
Elkins scored eight points, while Blas and Tanner McAlister both had six to lead Yuba City in the scoring department. Nathan Gillming also came down with a game-high 13 rebounds for the Honkers, who were without the services of leading scorer Gurpreet Singh, who injured his knee in a loss against Woodland last week.
"A couple calls went against us, and we couldn't get it out of the guys' heads," said Yuba City coach Brian Davis. "We had some open shots that didn't drop, and RV had some key shots fall."
The victory by the Falcons upped their mark to 12-10 overall and 3-2 through the first cycle of TCC play. River Valley now sits in third place in the conference standings behind Inderkum and Woodland.
Yuba City fell to 9-12 and 1-4 in the TCC with the loss, all but eliminating the Honkers from playoff contention.
"The whole game was emotional, but for a young team, we did a good job maintaining our aggressiveness," McIntire said. "I've got to give credit to Yuba City though. They did a great job adjusting playing without (Singh)."