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Toronto gains more momentum, bests Conotton Valley, 69-46

Brant Reeves

TORONTO — The Toronto boys basketball team turned up the heat on Conotton Valley, and the added pressure led to a big win, as the Red Knights brought down the Rockets, 69-46, Wednesday night to sweep the season series.

“We applied pressure,” Toronto (7-13) head coach Sean Tucker said. “We came out a little flat, but the guys made some good adjustments. We were able to apply pressure, and we were able to work on some things we needed to work on. We are working toward the tournament. We were able to work on some things we needed to work on. We settled down, and we focused better in the second quarter.”

Toronto led by as many as 26 points in the game.

Two players reached double digits for the Red Knights. Brant Reeves recorded 17 points, while pulling down a game-high eight rebounds. Shane Keenan collected 11 points and four rebounds.

Two players also produced double digits in the points column for the Rockets. Gaige Galigher also recorded 17 points, while Garson Imes tallied 11. Imes was the co-leader on the team with three rebounds.

Toronto out-rebounded Conotton Valley, 36-18, and the Rockets committed 19 turnovers, while the Red Knights had 14.

The Rockets struck first with a 3-pointer, however, the Red Knights ripped off a 10-0 run to take a 10-3 lead. Conotton Valley closed to within 11-8, but Toronto tallied seven of the next nine points to take an 18-10 lead after one quarter.

“One thing in the first was they hit some 3s, but they were wide open,” Tucker said. “We did not do a good job with our defensive assignments.

“In the second quarter, we tightened up. We held them to two field goals in the second. Then, we came out in third and held them to five field goals. We did a really good job of applying ball pressure. We were able to get out into transition, and we were able to get some points.”

Another 3-pointer by Galigher pulled the visitors to within 20-13 early in the second, but the hosts scored the next 13 points to take their biggest lead of the half at 33-13. They entered the locker room ahead, 36-18.

Toronto out-rebounded Conotton Valley, 17-10, in the first half. The Rockets committed eight turnovers in the first 16 minutes of play, while Toronto had three.

“One thing you don’t see in the newspaper is defense,” Tucker said. “You see this person scored this many points, and this scored so many points. In the second quarter, we had a couple of kids really step up and play really good defense in Kamryn Baker and Nathan Chociej. They really stood out on defense. They applied a lot of ball pressure.

“Nathan Chociej really stepped up. He needed that. That will help his confidence. His effort was great.”

The Red Knights led by as many as 22 points on two occasions in the third, as Toronto took a 51-31 lead into the fourth.

Toronto built a 57-31 lead in the fourth following a dunk by Keenan.

“I want to congratulate Conotton Valley,” Tucker said. “They did a really good job. Matt Edie does a great job. He’s passionate. I have a lot of respect for him. Conotton Valley is lucky to have him as coach.”

The Red Knights received contributions from everyone who played, from the starters down to the guys who came off of the bench in the final minutes. Bryson Anderson added nine points for Toronto, Chociej contributed eight and Baker picked up six.

Toronto defeated Conotton Valley, 66-43, on Jan 2. at Bowerstown.

“We mostly used the 2-2-1 press when we played them out there,” Tucker said. “(Wednesday), we tried to work on some different things. They have a lot of guards. They are pretty quick. They move well without the ball.

“We worked on some things you can’t work on in practice, things you can only work on live in a game when there is pressure. The kids adapted really well.”

LOOKING AHEAD

The regular season is quickly winding down, and the Red Knights and the Rockets learned Sunday what awaits them in the upcoming postseason.

Toronto, the No. 11 seed, will play second-seeded Shenandoah in a Division IV Eastern District sectional semifinal at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 in Sarahsville. Conotton Valley will play the winner of the semifinal game between No. 1 Malvern and No. 15 Beallsville in a sectional final at 7 p.m. Feb. 26. The higher seed will host the game.

JV ACTION

The Red Knights won the two-quarter jayvee game, 20-11. Nolan Dickinson finished with a game-high 12 points to lead Toronto.

UP NEXT

Toronto: Tentatively hosts Frontier Saturday afternoon. The JV game is slated to start at 1 p.m.

Toronto 69, Conotton Valley 46

Valley 10 8 13 15 — 46

Toronto 18 18 15 18 — 69

CONOTTON VALLEY (3-15): Walter 3 1-2 7, Myers 2 1-2 7, Putnam 1 1-2 3, Galigher 6 1-2 16, Reardon 1 0-0 2, Siedel 0 0-0 0, Walker 0 0-0 0, Imes 2 7-8 11, Novak 0 0-0 0, Edie 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 15, 11-16: 46.

TORONTO (7-13): Chociej 4 0-0 8, Baker 2 2-2 6, Karaffa 2 0-0 5, Hanlin 1 1-3 4, Reeves 7 3-3 17, Rex 0 0-0 0, Myslinski 0 1-2 1, Ensell 0 0-0 0, Close 2 0-0 4, Dickinson 0 0-0 0, Anderson 4 0-0 9, Terry 0 0-0 0, Keenan 5 1-1 11, Benton 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 29, 8-11: 69.

3-POINT GOALS: Conotton Valley 5 (Galigher 3, Myers 2); Toronto 3 (Karaffa, Hanlin, Anderson). REBOUNDS: Conotton Valley 18 (Reardon 3, Imes 3); Toronto 36 (Reeves 8). REBOUNDS: Conotton Valley 19; Toronto 14.

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