UNION CITY – The way Mississinawa Valley boy’s basketball team played on Senior night in their 55-29 win over Miami East, it made coach Tim Barga wish it was Senior night every night.
“We went over a lot of things in practice over the last two days on attacking the zone and they did a nice job of executing our offense and the defense was solid as well,” MV coach Tim Barga said. “D.J. Howell played well and Trent Collins had a big game too. Trent has really come along learning to use his size to score inside and was very active around the basket.”
Things didn’t start off smoothly in the contest as Miami East jumped on top 10-4. The ‘Hawks inched back on a baseline runner from Blake Scholl and a triple from Kyler Guillozet making the score 10-9 to end the first quarter.
Collins had a big second quarter scoring 7 points and Cody Dirksen added 7 as well to spark the offense. Defensively the ‘Hawks clamped down giving up just 4 points taking a 25-14 lead at the break.
Mississinawa had its highest scoring quarter in the third frame adding 21 points. Again, Collins led with 7 points, Howell and Max Dirmeyer chipped in 5 each as the ‘Hawks upped their lead to 46-19, the largest lead on the night.
In the final stanza Mississinawa was having fun and trying to get all the seniors in the scorebook. One of the crowd favorites was Justin Miller and after two 3-point attempts went half-way down and popped up it wasn’t looking good. But on a layup attempt Miller was fouled and the senior would convert one of his charity tosses to put all the seniors in the book.
Maybe a little unknown fact is Tim Barga as the coach at Mississinawa Valley has never lost to coach Allen Mack and Miami East. Mack, who is retiring after this year, has over 400 career wins, 1 state title, 1 state runner-up, 1 state final four and 4 Cross County Conference titles. When talking with Barga about the accomplishment he was quick to point out it was the kids who accomplished the feat, not him and he went on to talk about his seniors – Justin Miller, Kyler Guillozet, Will Hall, Trent Collins and D.J. Howell – who were playing their last home game at the Nest.
“Justin Miller broke his arm and didn’t play much, but he came to every practice and is such a good kid, and he got his chance tonight. He played really hard, scored in the game and that made me happy,” Barga smiled.
“Kyler Guillozet has been a great kid and made some big shots for us, he hit one early for us tonight and we know there are times he can step in and help us,. He’s a streaky shooter and when he’s on he’s good,” Barga praised.
“Will Hall is tremendous on defense and quite frankly that’s why he plays, because of his defense. He scored two points tonight on a steal, he’s just a hustler. Sometimes he leads us in rebounds, other nights steals and sometimes assists. He’s been a great asset to the team,” Barga commented.
“D.J. played really well tonight against their big guy and he just keeps coming at you. He has done a lot for us and performed extremely well in the league this year,” Barge complimented.
“Trent might be the most improved player we’ve got all the way around. He’s figured out when to shoot and when not to shoot, is a good passer and is becoming a better rebounder,” Barga applauded.
“Senior night means it will be the last time some of our fans ever get to see these boys play and the kids really wanted this win bad tonight,” Barga said. “They played at a very high level with lots of energy. I’m hoping this transcends into the tournament and they want it as badly as they did tonight.”
Mississinawa Valley was led by Collins with 16 points, Howell had 11 and Dirksen 10. With the win, the ‘Hawks improve to 10-12 overall and finished with a 7-5 record in the CCC tied for fourth place with Arcanum, Bethel and Franklin-Monroe.
Up next is the Division IV sectional tournament where MV will take on Ansonia for the third time this year after splitting a pair of games this season. The game is at 6 p.m. on Friday at Piqua.
Score by quarters
Miami East – Mahaney 7, Heim 3, Lawrence 2, Zapadka 9, Whitt 3, Bertsch 5. Totals 4-8-1/2 – 29
Mississinawa Valley – Dirmeyer 7, Hall 2, Collins 16, A. Scholl 1, Guillozet 3, Miller 1, Dirksen 10, B. Scholl 4, Howell 11. Totals 2-19-11/15 – 55.
3-pointers: Miami East 4 (Heim 1, Zapadka 1, Whitt 1, Bertsch 1), Mississinawa Valley 2 (Guillozet 1, Dirksen 1).