UNION CITY – Mississinawa Valley closed the third quarter on an 8-0 run Friday night, giving the Blackhawks a six-point lead and seemingly all the momentum.
But the lead slipped away in the fourth quarter as Twin Valley South mounted a comeback to defeat Mississinawa 44-42 in a Cross County Conference boys basketball game.
“We just blew another one,” Mississinawa Valley coach Tim Barga said. “It’s time after time after time. We can’t handle any pressure. So if you want to beat us, just come out and pressure us. We still have no team leader. We’re still looking for one.”
The first quarter was back and forth with Mississinawa’s Ethan Bowman trading baskets with Twin Valley South. The MV sophomore scored all seven of the Blackhawks’ first quarter points as they trailed 11-7 at the end of the period.
Bowman continued to have the hot hand early in the second quarter and drained his second 3-pointer of the night, giving him MV’s first 10 points of the game. Colyn Nelson then warmed up and scored six consecutive Mississinawa Valley points, which was followed by another Bowman basket to cut the deficit to a single point, 19-18, entering halftime.
Even though only two players scored for Mississinawa Valley in the first half, the team’s defense continued to play great and kept the Blackhawks in the game.
“We played good defense the first half,” Barga said. “Four games ago we gave up nine points, 10 points the game after that, 12 points the game after that, what 16 or 19 in this game. You can’t beat that.”
Almost five minutes into the third quarter Mississinawa Valley got its first points from someone other than Bowman or Nelson as Trent Perkins hit a shot.
A minute and a half later Andrew Johns joined the scoring column by hitting a 3-pointer, which gave MV its first lead since the first quarter at 26-25. It also sparked a Blackhawk rally as Perkins added a 3-pointer and Nelson scored inside to put Mississinawa up 31-25 entering the fourth quarter.
However, the tide dramatically turned in the fourth quarter.
Twin Valley South started the period with a Mike Meyers basket to pull within four.
After that, Jacob Bassler took over. The senior scored the Panthers’ next 12 points as South started the fourth quarter on a 14-2 run to take a 39-33 lead with less than three minutes remaining.
Needing points fast, Mississinawa Valley turned to Bowman and Devan Rinderle – its top two scorers this season. Rinderle, who was held scoreless in the first three quarters, scored six points in the fourth quarter while Bowman added five to get the Blackhawks back in the game.
Bowman’s final basket came with just 24 seconds left as he forced a turnover off a Twin Valley South inbound and drove in to score and give MV a 42-41 lead.
With just a one-point lead, Mississinawa Valley fouled Twin Valley South with 16.9 seconds remaining. The Panthers missed the front end of a one-and-one but retained possession after the ball went out of bounds off a Blackhawk.
With 15.8 seconds remaining South inbounded it to Bassler under the bucket, and he scored to put the Panthers up 43-42.
Mississinawa Valley had one final chance to score with 11 seconds remaining but couldn’t make a shot. MV fouled South with 0.6 seconds left, and the Panthers made one final free throw for a 44-42 final score.
There were numerous mistakes throughout the game that contributed to the loss, Barga said.
“We had turnovers, and that right there caused (Bassler) to get shots off,” Barga said. “We missed foul shots. That caused things right there. We had an inbounds play that we had a layup on, and I don’t know what happened on that … we wasn’t looking. That was a set play. I’d say turnover after turnover.”
Bowman led Mississinawa Valley with 20 points in the loss. Also for the Blackhawks, Nelson scored eight points, Rinderle scored six, Perkins scored five, and Johns scored three.
Bassler led Twin Valley South with a game-high 25 points, 14 of which came in the fourth quarter. Also for the Panthers, Meyers scored 11 points, J.J. Utz scored five, Andrew Augspurger scored two, and Chad Ehler scored one.
Mississinawa Valley fell to 6-6 overall and 3-3 in the CCC with the loss. Twin Valley South improved to 9-6 overall and 5-2 in the CCC.
MV will travel to Brookville for a game Saturday night.