James Valley Christian’s Nathan Wedel flies through the lane on his way to the basket during Saturday’s Class B consolation championship game in Aberdeen. In the next photo, JVC’s Adam Hofer shoots over a Langford defender Saturday during the game on Saturday. PHOTOS COURTESY OF JOHN DAVIS/ABERDEEN AMERICAN NEWS
ABERDEEN — Langford Area dominated the start, but James Valley Christian controlled the finish Saturday afternoon at Wachs Arena.
JVC survived a slow first quarter, made key plays down the stretch and captured fifth place in the State B boys’ basketball tournament with a 49-45 victory.
“For Class B, there’s only four teams that end with a win, so obviously that’s huge for us,” said James Valley senior standout Adam Hofer. “We’re happy with a consolation championship. We came here to win and we won two out of three, so we consider that a victory.”
It was Langford which stormed out to an early advantage, making eight of its first nine shots to grab an 18-4 lead. However, the Vikings did not panic.
“That’s happened to us before when teams have come out on runs,” Hofer noted. “We know that basketball is a game of runs. We just knew that we had to contain the storm and then it would be our turn.”
Bo Fries lit up JVC for 14 first-half points, but found the going tougher when the Vikings put Nathan Wedel on him.
“Nathan was able to body him and able to cause some difficulties,” said JVC coach Darwin Hofer.
Fries had consistently gotten in the lane, where he either nailed spot-up jumpers or dished to open teammates.
“He’s a heckuva ball player,” Coach Hofer said. “That pull-up jumper that he has is pretty tough to stop. You’re not sure if he’s going to take it all the way in or if he’s going to dump it off to another player. That’s a pretty tough combination.”
With Fries bottled up in the second half, the Vikings were able to get back in the game.
The score was tied at 36, 40 and 42 before James Valley took a lead it never lost.
Wedel made a free throw and Andrew Ulvestad extended the margin to 45-42 with 1:36 left on two foul shots.
After Fries made a free throw to cut the deficit, JVC’s Leon Brondsema scored on an offensive rebound with 42 seconds left to push the lead to 47-43.
Langford’s Drew Planteen sank two free throws with 21 seconds left and when the Lions got JVC to miss a free throw with 10 seconds remaining, it appeared the contest would be decided on a last-second shot attempt.
However, JVC’s Alex Waldner stepped in front of an inbounds pass to erase that chance and Hofer sealed the deal with two free throws moments later.
“We had a play set. We were looking for a backside lob to Drew,” said Langford Coach Paul Raasch of the final sequence. “They defended well. They jumped to it.”
Waldner said he saw the play coming.
“I was on the wing. I came around backside with the guy I was guarding,” Waldner explained. “I saw a guy getting picked up on top and came around for the alley-oop on the backside and I was just there.”
That play was a capsule of how the final half played out.
“We just had a couple of droughts there,” Raasch said. “Credit their defense. They took some things away from us and made some nice plays at the end.”
Adam Hofer led JVC with 21 points.
Fries finished with 17 points and Planteen added 11 for Langford.
The Lions ended their season with a 20-6 record.
“We’re disappointed today, but we’re not going to be disappointed with the season,” Raasch said. “We wanted to compete today and we wanted to play hard and we did those two things.”
James Valley closed its year with a 23-2 mark. While the second-seeded Vikings did not get a chance to play for a state title, they did walk away with the fifth-place trophy.
“We’re extremely excited about where we ended up being,” Coach Hofer said. “It wasn’t where we envisioned when we were on the way here, but all things considered, winning two ball games and going home fifth is something that we’re very pleased about.”
JAMES VALLEY CHRISTIAN 49,
James Valley Christian 4 18 36 49
Langford 18 26 34 45
JAMES VALLEY CHRISTIAN (23-3): Decker 2-2 0-0 5, Brondsema 2-3 0-2 5, Waldner 4-8 0-0 9, Wedel 1-6 1-2 3, Hofer 8-16 4-6 21, Ulvestad 1-9 4-5 6. Totals: 18-44 9-15 49.
LANGFORD (20-6): Fries 7-15 1-2 17, Larson 2-4 2-2 7, Planteen 4-8 3-3 11, Erickson 2-0 0-0 4, Punt 2-5 1-2 6. Totals: 17-41 7-9 45.
3-pointers: JVC 4-12 (Decker 1-1, Brondsema 1-1, Waldner 1-3, Hofer 1-4, Ulvestad 0-3), Langford 4-15 (Fries 2-4, Larson 1-3, Punt 1-3). Rebounds: JVC 26 (Ulvestad 13), Langford 28 (Planteen 7). Assists: JVC 5 (Hofer 4), Langford 6 (Fries 6). Total fouls: JVC 13, Langford 14.
For the complete article see the 03-17-2013 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 03-17-2013 paper.