The Valiants hit just 28 percent of their shots vs. Blanchet

by: MILES VANCE - TO THE HOOP - Valley Catholic's Jarrett Gray gets airborne for a shot in his team's loss to Blanchet on Friday in the 3A state tournament.

COOS BAY — There were just so many things Valley Catholic’s boys did right in their Class 3A state semifinal on Friday night.

The second-ranked Valiants, facing No. 3 Blanchet Catholic at Marshfield High School, kept Cavalier star Brent Counts in check, made fewer turnovers, made more steals, handed out more assists and got both Counts brothers in serious foul trouble.

Unfortunately, making shots was not one of the things that went well for Valley Catholic, and that shortcoming — the Valiants went just 11-of-40 from the field against Blanchet — made all the difference in VC’s 48-37 loss to the Cavaliers.

“They played good overall, and we couldn’t hit any shots,” said Valiant junior Tysen Prunty. “They just played better than us today.”

“All we could have done was play harder,” added junior Canaan Sellers. “The shots just didn’t fall.”

That said, the Valiants hung around for a long time against Blanchet, leading 9-8 after Gabe Taylor — he led his team with 23 points and five rebounds — buried a three-pointer from the left corner with 3 minutes, 1 second left in the first quarter.

Blanchet’s Trevor Howard hit a late “three” to give his team an 11-9 edge at the end of the first quarter, and Blanchet built its lead to five twice in the second, the last time at 21-16 when Michael Anderson scored on a drive with 35 seconds to go in the half.

The Valiants hung tough in that second period, however, getting a three-pointer from Jarrett Gray and four points in the final minute from Sellers, the first two on a driving hoop and the latter two on a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left in the half to keep his team within 21-18.

VC moved even closer early in the third quarter, getting a Liam Cassidy steal and breakaway and then a Taylor three-point play to close within 24-23 with 6:48 to go in the period.

But the Cavaliers closed the period on a 13-5 run, that stretch powered by four Brent Counts points and then five straight by Patrick Counts, to push ahead 37-28 at the end of the frame.

The Valiants tried to rally again in the fourth and moved within six points twice — the last time at 39-33 on a Taylor hoop with 5:13 left on the clock — but just didn’t shoot well enough down the stretch to win. Indeed, after Taylor’s score cut the gap to six, VC went just 1-of-9 from the field the rest of the way, its final four points coming on a Taylor hoop with 3:18 to go and two Taylor free throws with 22 seconds left on the clock.

Blanchet, meanwhile, rode the efforts of Brent Counts (he finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds) and Patrick Counts (10 points and five rebounds) down the stretch to the win.

After the game, Taylor said he was just trying to engage Counts at both ends of the court.

“I was satisfied with the effort. I was just trying to make him guard us,” Taylor said. “That was about it, and trying to get him in foul trouble.”

“They were just hitting shots. They’re a good team overall,” Prunty said. “I’m just proud of our team for going hard, giving it our all.”

“Everybody stepped up,” Sellers added. “But we can’t let this define us. We just have to come back next game and win it.”

Beyond Taylor’s 23 points, Sellers had six points and two rebounds, and Liam Cassidy had four points and five rebounds. Howard added nine points in the win and Anderson six in the win.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, go to

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