UNION CITY – Mississinawa Valley got a boost from its seniors late in Friday’s game, taking the lead in the fourth quarter and then holding on for a 50-42 Cross County Conference win over Miami East.
It would be a memorable senior night for Darin Miller, Trent Perkins and Andrew Johns as they played in their last home game.
Miller grabbed a few key rebounds and made a free throw late while Perkins scored 5 points in the fourth quarter and Johns sealed the win by going 5-for-6 from the free throw line as they all contributed in the win.
Miami East looked like it was going to run away early in the game, jumping out 7-0, but the Hawks came storming back with Ethan Bowman scoring 8 points in the first quarter and a big triple by Perkins pulled Mississinawa to within 1, trailing 13-12.
The two teams played to a 22-22 tie at the break.
It was a defensive struggle with Miami East’s 1-2-2 zone limiting offensive looks for the Mississinawa, who trailed 30-25 until Bowman connected on a big triple to close the gap to 30-28 to end the third quarter.
Bowman continued his hot hand with a triple to start the final stanza to give the MV the lead for the first time, 31-30, and the lead would seesaw back and forth.
The Hawks’ defense continued to do a great job of limiting outside shots, and after a few stops, a triple by Perkins and bucket by Bowman improved the lead to 42-36 with just over 2:30 to play.
Miami East extended its defensive pressure to half court and quickly turned over MV for two quick baskets and now trailed 42-40.
Mississinawa settled down and forced Miami East to foul, putting Blackhawks them on the line where they would go 9-for-11 in the final stanza including five straight by Johns to seal the win, 50-42.
“This was a good win for us tonight,” Mississinawa Valley boys basketball coach Tim Barga said.
“Ethan Bowman had some big baskets, especially in late in the third and early part of the fourth quarters,” Barga added.
“We didn’t match up well with their big guy down on the block, and we knew he was going to get his points … but defensively we were a half step faster than we normally are. Maybe it was the emotions of senior night, but we had a hand in everyone’s face, and we shut down their outside game, not letting the rest of them beat us.
“We had a great crowd here tonight, they got us going,” Barga said.
Mississinawa Valley honored three cheerleaders: Makayla Connor, Shaiann Livingston and Shelby Manning, and Coach Barga was quick to thank the cheerleaders.
“Our cheerleaders do such a great job,” he said. “They really get our crowd fired up especially when we score the 12th point in the game and everyone stands up screams and hollers. That energy helped fuel our team tonight.”
Barga also took time to comment on his senior basketball players Andrew Johns, Trent Perkins and Darrin Miller as well.
“Andrew Johns has been around all four years, a program kid, who has been a very consistent player. You know what to expect out of him. We could have won it or lost it at the line tonight, and Johns came up big down the stretch,” Barga said.
“Trent Perkins he’s always been a good outside shooter and can play inside or out and is also an outstanding defensive player. He showcased all of that tonight,” Barga said.
“Darrin Miller, he might be the most improved player on our team. He got a couple big buckets and a free throw for us. It was a good senior night for him, too,” Barga said.
“It was a great win for our seniors, and I’m sure it will be a game they will remember,” Barga concluded.
Mississinawa improved to 6-13 overall and 3-8 in the Cross-County Conference. The Blackhawks are on the road Saturday taking on the Houston Wildcats.
Score by quarters:
ME … 13 … 09 … 08 … 12 – 42
MV … 12 … 10 … 07 … 21 – 50
Brown 5, Kearns 5, Coomes 8, West 18, Hudson 2, Rutledge 5
Totals: 16-1-7/14 – 42
Guillozet 2, Bowman 20, Miller 5, Perkins 8, Howell 7, Johns 8
Totals: 12-5-11/17 – 50
ME – 1 (Rutledge)
MV – 5 (Bowman 3, Perkins 2)