UNION CITY – Mississinawa Valley switched up defenses and got 38 points from seniors Devan Rinderle and Colyn Nelson to rally from a 27-12 mid-second quarter deficit to take down the Blazers of National Trail 48-40 Friday night in Cross County Conference action.
The game opened with the teams exchanging baskets, but when Peyton Harrison connected for two of his team-high 14 points with 3:34 in the first period, the Blazers ignited on an 11-2 run that would give them a 15-8 lead after eight minutes.
Blackhawks coach Tim Barga changed from a man-to-man defense at the quarter break to a 2-3 match-up zone. He didn’t want to do the switch until after the quarter change so the Blazers wouldn’t have time to adjust. It took a bit for MV to settle into the new scheme, as National Trail built the lead up to 27-12, but then the defense started to click.
The Blackhawks gave up only one point in the final three minutes of the half while Rinderle and Nelson netted all the points in an 8-1 run to get MV to trail only 28-20 at the half.
Harrison opened the third quarter for the Blazers with their fourth 3-pointer of the night. They would go on to make six. Combine his triple with an old fashioned 3-point play by Dalton Mason, and Trail found itself back in front by the score of 34-24 with 5:11 remaining.
The Blackhawks once again dug deep and started a comeback. Again it was Rinderle and Nelson. This time Ethan Bowman contributed five points to the 13-3 run that would tie the game at 37 after three quarters.
“I had confidence in the boys to come back,” Coach Barga said. “We’re playing pretty well right now. Devan and Ethan, they control a lot of the game out there. Colyn Nelson, he was getting rebounds … he did an excellent job on the boards. He’s gotten better all year.”
After switching to the zone the defensive results improved each period. MV allowed 13 in the second, nine in the third and only three in the fourth. With the zone the Blackhawks added some full-court pressure in the latter stages of the third and the entire fourth quarter.
Rinderle got the crowd on its feet with a fast-break jam to start the Blackhawk offense in the fourth period. Nelson added a field goal to give MV a 41-37 lead, but a Travis Hunt trey brought the Blazers to within one at 41-40 with nearly four minutes remaining, but they would not score again.
The teams exchanged turnovers during the three minute range. Nelson managed to connect on one of two free throws with 2:42 remaining to push the score to 42-40. Neither team could add to its total.
With 54.2 seconds left Bowman was fouled and walked to the line like someone who knew he was the one who should be shooting these free throws at this time. He calmly made both shots, making it 44-40.
A steal and a Rinderle hoop made it 46-40, and all that was left was for him to make two final free throws with 8.1 seconds left to seal the victory 48-40.
Rinderle led all scorers with 20.
“Rinderle is an excellent rebounder,” Coach Barga said. “He gets up and gets rebounds. He gets up and blocks shots. He’s got a very good first step on blocked shots … Devan does a great job, have to give him a lot of credit. He goes all out.
“We didn’t fold toward the end,” Coach Barga concluded. “We closed tonight well. We’ve been learning little by little.”
With the victory Mississinawa Valley moved to 9-6 on the season and 5-3 in the CCC. National Trail fell to 3-13 overall with a 1-8 conference mark.
National Trail – 40
Hunt 9, Harrison 14, Thompson 4, Haas 4, Deardorff 4, Mason 5.
Mississinawa Valley – 48
Bowman 8, Perkins 2, Rinderle 20, Nelson 18.
3-pointers: NT: 6(Hunt 3, Harrison 3); MV: 3(Bowman, Rinderle 2).
Free throws: NT: 2-4; MV: 9-13.