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Post: Blog2_Post
  • Val T.

Cooksey’s go-ahead trey helps Valley hold off Plymouth

Neither team scores in final 3:20 as Vikes force late air ball to preserve win


Sports Editor, RTC

Stephen Akase

AKRON — Ian Cooksey hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, and the Tippecanoe Valley boys basketball team earned a key defensive stop in the final seconds to edge Plymouth 45-44 at Rita Price Simpson Court Saturday.

Cooksey and Stephen Akase scored 13 points each for Valley, and Riley Shepherd added 12, all in the first half.

Coby Walters had 13, and Kadyn Ellery had 10 for Plymouth.

The game became a defensive struggle in the fourth quarter with neither team scoring in the final 3:20.

Valley improved to 7-5. Plymouth, coached by former Valley assistant principal Joel Grindle, fell to 5-6.

Plymouth lost despite making more free throws (nine) than Valley attempted (eight).

Plymouth had a chance for the lead after calling timeout with 9.3 seconds left, but the Vikings forced Plymouth guard Preston Wolfe into taking a 30-foot air ball, which landed out of bounds with 1.4 seconds left.

“Keep the ball in front of you, don’t foul and rebound the sucker when it goes up there,” Valley coach Joe Luce said he told his team.

Luce then called timeout. After the timeout, the ball was inbounded towards halfcourt, and Shepherd batted it up in the air as time expired.

Valley led by as many as 11 in the second quarter, and they led 32-22 after a Cooksey pullup 15-footer in the first minute of the second half, but Ellery hit a 3-pointer from the left wing and two free throws, and Walters buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key, and the lead was down to two.

Valley led 38-36 after three quarters. An Akase layup finished off a high-low play with Kyler Johnson getting an assist.

Ellery split a pair of free throws, and Dan Nguyen drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing to tie the game.

But Cooksey answered with his 3 from the top of the key.

“It was not a set play,” Cooksey recalled. “It was just a kickout 3. I just felt good about my shot, and it just went in.”

Cooksey, a 6-2 junior, said he played basketball “every single day” over the summer to get ready for this season.

“I went through OPS out of Fort Wayne,” Cooksey said. “It was good. It was actually fun. I loved my team – great guys, good coaches. … I feel more comfortable playing high school basketball because it’s more organized and it’s a lot slower.”

Walters scored on a cutting layup to make it 43-42, but Akase hit a short banker despite Ellery deflecting the post entry pass.

Walters scored on a driving banker as Shepherd fouled him with 3:20 left. He missed the potential game-tying free throw however.

“We played ball real strong,” Grindle said. “We had Kadyn Ellery do what Kadyn Ellery does, and he attacks, and when he’s playing the way Kadyn Ellery can, it really got us going. Again, Preston Wolfe had a great night, and Coby Walters … and Dan Nguyen, they were just playing how we normally play. Again, we had a great night. We just came up one play short.”

Plymouth got a stop and called timeout with 2:08 left and another with 1:45 left, but Nguyen threw up an air ball.

Plymouth committed five fouls in a 43-second span, but Blain Sheetz missed two free throws for Valley with 33 seconds left.

This was Valley’s first game since finishing in sixth place out of eight teams at the Delta Holiday Invitational.

Valley turned the momentum with a 18-4 run in the second quarter to take a 23-15 lead. Cooksey hit a 3, DeOndre Hamilton turned a baseline cut into a 3-point play, Shepherd had a flying putback, Johnson scored on a putback of his own miss, and Shepherd drilled a 3.

Plymouth called timeout, and Wolfe would eventually hit a 17-footer, but Shepherd drained another 3, and Davis Cowan had a steal and uncontested layup to make it 28-17.

“I thought we took good shots in the first quarter,” Luce said. “I thought we just missed good shots. Then in the second quarter, I thought we continued to get the same type of inside passes to outside kicks, and we just ended up making some shots, and then it avalanches. Once you make one, then you’re going to make two. If you’re taking good shots, it will eventually balance out.”

Valley graduated top scorers Tayde Kiser and Nolan Cumberland from last year’s team and reworked its schedule after parting ways with the Three Rivers Conference.

“It’s going not bad,” Cooksey said of the season so far. “We’ve improved a lot. From the start of the season to now, we’ve done a lot better. So I’m really looking forward to sectionals this year.”

Plymouth won the JV game 45-42 in overtime. Cale Dewees had 13 points for Valley, and Wes Parker and DeOndre Hamilton had 11 each.

Valley 45, Plymouth 44

PLYMOUTH (44) (5-6)

Preston Wolfe 3 0-0 7, Coby Walters 4 4-5 13, Dan Nguyen 3 0-0 7, Caleb Bowling 1 0-0 3, Kadyn Ellery 2 5-8 10, Trey Delp 1 0-0 2, Trenton VanDuyne 1 0-0 2, Parker Wolfe 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 15 9-13 44

VALLEY (45) (7-5)

Davis Cowan 1 0-0 2, Ian Cooksey 5 0-0 13, Riley Shepherd 4 2-3 12, Kyler Johnson 1 0-0 2, Stephen Akase 6 1-2 13, Blain Sheetz 0 0-2 0, DeOndre Hamilton 1 1-1 3

TEAM: 18 4-8 45

Three-point field goals:

Plymouth 5 (Walters, Ellery, Nguyen, Preston Wolfe, Bowling),

Valley 5 (Cooksey 3, Shepherd 2)

Total fouls: Plymouth 13, Valley 13

Turnovers: Plymouth 11, Valley 11

Score by quarters

Plymouth 9 13 14 8 44

Valley 7 23 8 7 – 45

JV: Plymouth 45, Valley 42 (OT)

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