In the opening game of the Class 3A, Area 10 boys basketball tournament, Pleasant Valley led eventual tournament champion Piedmont until the final shot of the game. The Bulldogs won 42-41 when a Piedmont player rebounded his own missed 3-point attempt and passed to an open teammate at the basket for the winning layup just before the final buzzer.

Raiders coach Ryan McCoy said his game plan didn’t call for extended delays on each possession but the Raiders looked for good shots every time they had the ball.

“We did a great job defending them. We didn’t rebounds very well, too many offensive rebounds, but we did a great job defending them. … We fought really, really hard. They did anything and everything I asked them to do,” McCoy said.

Josh Faucett led Pleasant Valley with 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Reid Hightower and Riley Vernon each scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds. Drew Bonds tallied three points. Caden Turner had two points and five rebounds.

The Raiders concluded their regular season with a make-up game against Sand Rock at home on Feb. 3. The Wildcats won 60-58 in overtime after the score was knotted at 46-46 when the fourth quarter ended. Faucett had 23 points, three assists and three rebounds. Hightower scored 17 points, Vernon 13, Turner three and Ethan Johnson two. Vernon led in rebounds with six and also had two assists. Turner and Hightower each grabbed four rebounds.

Susan Moore downed Pleasant Valley 57-50 on the road Feb. 2. Hightower led the Raiders with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. Faucett totaled 15 points and added five rebounds and three assists. Vernon and Turner netted seven points each and Nic Smith scored five points. Turner also pulled down five rebounds. Vernon and Smith each had two boards.

Playing at home on Jan. 30, the Raiders defeated Ashville 66-52.Pleasant Valley led by three points at halftime then held Ashville to six points in the third quarter to up their advantage to 53-39 entering the fourth quarter.

McCoy said his players defended out of a 3-2 zone in the first half the switched defenses in the second half.

“We came out and played them man-to-man the third quarter and it threw them for a loop,” McCoy said. “They didn’t adjust quick enough and we jumped out on them pretty good.”

Meanwhile, Pleasant Valley got points from seven different players in the third.

Faucett led in scoring with 18 points, in rebounds with eight and in assists with six. Hightower and Turner each scored 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Bonds finished with five points. Smith recorded four points and two boards. Vernon scored two points and Jeremiah Hardy had one point.                

The Raiders finished 1-24. Seven of their final 11 losses were by single digits.

“Very, very, very rarely did we go out and not have a chance,” McCoy said.

Pleasant Valley girls

Pleasant Valley’s season ended in disappointment on Feb. 6 when the Raiders fell to Glencoe 43-38 in the opening round of the Class 3A, Area 10 girls basketball tournament at Piedmont. Friday, Glencoe downed Piedmont 52-34 in the area tournament championship game.  

Senior Mikala Simpson was the only Raider to score in every quarter and finished with 11 points. Senior Atleigh Brannon and junior McKinley Parris each scored nine points. Parris connected on three 3-point baskets. Sophomore Lindsey Pritchett tallied five points and senior Kara Perry had four points.

Balanced scoring helped Pleasant Valley to a 12-2 lead after one quarter. Brannon had four points, Parris three, Pritchett three and Simpson two in the first period. The Raiders led 20-17 at halftime, thanks largely to Perry who scored four of her team’s eight second-quarter points. Pleasant Valley trailed 29-27 after three quarters.

Brannon and Simpson were named to the all-tournament team.   

The Raiders ended 12-15 on the season with three of the losses coming against Glencoe.