AUGUSTA — Valley jumped out to a nine-point lead in the first quarter of its Western D quarterfinal game against Greenville only to watch the Lakers hit a few quick shots and cut the lead to three early in the second quarter.
That was a trend that would continue throughout Saturday’s game at the Augusta Civic Center. For every Valley run, Greenville seemed to have an answer.
The Cavaliers had an answer of their own in Carrington Miller, who finished with 29 points as No. 3 Valley beat No. 6 Greenville 62-56.
“He is one piece of a good puzzle here at Valley this year, a very good piece,” Valley coach Wade Morrill said of Miller.
Valley improves to 16-3 and advances to play the No. 2 Hyde in the Western D semifinals on Wednesday. Greenville ends the season 11-8.
Miller scored eight points in the first quarter as Valley jumped out to a 17-8 lead. Greenville switched from man-to-man to zone defense in the second quarter and cut the Cavaliers lead to three about three minutes in, thank to three straight points by Matt DiAngelo. That is when Miller went from scorer to facilitator, setting up Josh West for three straight hoops and the Cavaliers pushed their lead back to nine, 29-20, late in the quarter.
“He is a really good facilitator,” said West, who finished with 21 points. “He is a pass first kid, he loves to pass. In a game when he can pass real well we are going to get easy looks.”
Greenville started quick again in the third quarter, thanks to two quick hoops by Henry Hersey (20 points), getting within two at 31-29. Devon Gillespie came off the Valley bench to defend Hersey, and held him scoreless for about five minutes as the Cavaliers stretched their lead back to seven by the end of the quarter.
“I think we have one of the deepest teams in Class D West,” Miller said. “Jordan (Gillespie) and Devon have worked really hard on their defense game, they don’t get involved in the offense as much as some of us do. Henry is a great player player and can shoot really well, but they did a great job on him.”
Greenville chipped into the lead again in the fourth quarter, cutting it to three on a 3-pointer by Tristan Richards (10 points), but Miller scored four quick points — two on a breakaway dunk — and Valley stretched its lead to 10, 56-46. Miller closed strong, finishing with 11 points in the fourth quarter and dishing off to West for a pair of layups and the Cavaliers held on for the win.
Scott Martin 621-5618