BINGHAM — For the Valley High School boys basketball team, Monday night’s effort against the Hyde School was much better than the first game against the Phoenix. Earlier this season, the Cavaliers lost in Bath by 23 points.
The effort was better, but Hyde’s distinct advantage in size was still the difference, and the Phoneix pulled away in the second half for a 49-38 win. Hyde is now 15-1, while Valley is 13-4.
“Valley is always tough, and playing in Bingham is always hard,” Hyde coach Peter Rowe said.
Trailing 21-19 at the half, Hyde went to its big duo of Akim Sammi and Wasami Mohamed in the second half. Sammi scored eight of his team-high 16 points in the third quarter, helping the Phoenix take the lead for good with an 8-0 run. Playing at the top of Hyde’s zone defense, Mohamed disrupted Valley’s offense.
“Our guys battled hard. We just ran out of gas. We can do fine against one of them, but with two of them, particularly when they switched up Mohamed at the top of the post, we had trouble,” Valley coach Luke Hartwell said.
“Inside out is always better than outside in, and when we slowed it down and we focused on executing our offense and making good decisions,” Rowe said.
A Sammi layup with 2:27 left in the third quarter gave Hyde the lead for good, 30-28. The 6-foot-6 Sammi also grabbed 20 rebounds, and controlled play in the paint throughout the game.
“It’s hard work. We played hard defense. It was not easy,” Sammi said.
Added Hartwell: “Sammi is a very good player. I think he’s a D-1 prospect. He’s 6-6, 6-7, he’s long, he’s lanky. He can shoot and he can block shots.”
Valley led by as many as six points in the first half by being patient against Hyde’s zone defense. When the Cavaliers got the Phoenix to come out from the basket, they found an open man for an easy layup.
“We were looking for that three on two, high-low offense right there, trying to draw those guys out. If you keep them close to the basket, it’s tough to get a good look against them,” Hartwell said. “Once we worked the ball in and went to a bounce pass in the middle, we were getting good looks.”
Shots that fell in the first half were misses in the second, and the Cavaliers were hurt by 16 second half turnovers, 11 in the pivotal third quarter.
“We tried to dribble through it. In the first half, we were passing through it. You’ve got to pass through a good defense like that,” Hartwell said.
Wilson MacMillen scored 12 points for Hyde, while Mohamed added seven points and seven boards.
Dylan Belanger led Valley with 18 points. Teagan Staples had seven rebounds before fouling out with 1:49 to play.