Valley Christian beaten at buzzer
STRUTHERS — Valley Christian’s season came to a heartbreaking end after a layup by East Canton’s Anthony Baad beat the clock to give the Hornets a 52-50 victory in a Division IV district semifinal at Struthers Field House Tuesday night.
Eagles senior Emmanuel Armour split a pair of free throws to tie the game up at 50 with just under 10 seconds remaining in the game.
East Canton quickly called a timeout after the missed free throw and they were able to set up an out of bounds play. Baad found himself rolling wide open to the hoop for the game winning layup as the buzzer sounded off.
“We over-rotated and didn’t get the backside protected,” Valley Christian coach Dolph Carroll said. “It was a good play.”
Baad finished the night with a game-high 16 points after scoring just two points in the first half.
East Canton started the final quarter on a 10-0 run to take a 44-38 lead. After struggling from the field for most of the night Valley Christian junior Milan Square knocked down a clutch 3-pointer in the corner to cut the lead back to three.
Eagle senior Jamynk Jackson tied things up at 44 following an old-fashioned three-point play with just under four minutes to play. Unfortunately, the guard found himself quickly out the game after picking up his fourth and fifth fouls within a span of 20 seconds.
Jackson missed the final 2:46 and finished with a game-high 16 points.
“After I fouled out it was tough,” Jackson said. “But I had to encourage the team so I was just trying to stay positive and get the bench hyped.”
The Hornets built a four-point advantage, 50-46, late in the game but Square came up big again knocking down another 3 to trim the margin back to one.
Square finished the game with 13 points but was held scoreless for the entire second and third quarters.
“He wanted to win so bad that I think he put too much pressure on himself, but young kids do that and he’ll learn to let the game come to you,” Carroll said.
The Eagles as a team were held scoreless for the first three and a half minutes of the second half and saw their four-point halftime advantage disappear.
The game was a defensive grind and consisted of five ties and six lead changes. Neither team held a lead larger than 5 points.
The Hornets’ half-court zone defense slowed down the game, frustrating Valley Christian at times which led to many contested looks in the second half.
“That’s my fault, I thought we were prepared a little better for it and would’ve executed better,” Carroll said. “That’s the biggest team we faced from top to bottom and we didn’t execute very well and that’s my fault not theirs.”
East Canton will now take on Western Reserve in the district final on Friday night at the Struthers Field House. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.