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Freeport edges Valley in overtime

| Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, 11:24 p.m.
Valley's #21 Tyler Gardlock defends the ball against Freeport's #10 Fred Pastoria during the basketball game at Valley High School on Tuesday December 18, 2012. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

Freeport coach Mike Beale and Valley coach Phil Cope think Section 1-AAA will be loaded with grind-it-out affairs this season.

Tuesday night's game was one example as Freeport pulled out a 72-67 overtime decision at Valley.

In the end, Freeport's experienced seniors — Brendan Lynch and Robbie Miller — combined for 52 points to lead the Yellowjackets (2-3, 1-1).

“Coming down here, we knew it was going to be kind of difficult,” Beale said. “They play an up-and-down style with trapping the ball. In the end, it came down to Lynch and Miller making their foul shots and executing at the end.”

With Freeport leading, 63-61, on a Miller free throw with 11 seconds to play, Valley sophomore Caleb Davis scored with two seconds left in regulation tied the score at 63-63 and send the game into overtime.

Two free throws by Miller gave Freeport the lead for good, 65-63, with 2:52 to play in overtime. The Yellowjackets scored seven of their nine points from the foul line in the extra session. Lynch was 14 of 21 from the foul line, and Miller was 12 of 16.

By contrast, the youthful Vikings, with senior Chaz Cheatham (ankle) out of the lineup and senior Khaanan Briggs in foul trouble, had to put two sophomores and one freshman guard on the floor during the stretch.

Valley (1-3, 0-2) had control for more than half the game.

The Vikings led, 16-6, in the first quarter on a basket by Tyler Gardlock, who led Valley with 16 points, and 31-21 with 39.8 seconds left in the half.

But senior Zane Geist came off the bench to score seven points in the second quarter to keep the Yellowjackets in the game.

“He is our fire-starter,” Beale said. “He really sparked us.”

With the Yellowjackets ahead, 62-59, with 13.2 seconds to play, freshman Dayon Lloyd sank two free throws to cut the Freeport lead to 62-61, and Miller made 1-of-2 foul attempts with 11 seconds left for a 63-61 Freeport edge, setting the stage for Davis' game-tying basket.

“Section-wise, this is how it's going to be,” said Cope.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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