The Valley Greyhounds will get at least one more opportunity to shine in front of their home crowd.
No. 4 Valley (10-12) will square off with No. 5 Richwood (10-11) in a Class A Region 3, Section 1 basketball tournament game Monday at Smithers. Tip is at 7 p.m.
Led by 21 points from Lucca Giannini, 15 from Quinten DeMello, 12 from Jimmy Harper and 11 from Adam Falbo, the Greyhounds "played pretty good" in their final regular season game, a 66-43 verdict over host Clay County on Tuesday, according to head coach Joe McCoy. However, a recent outing on the home court in Smithers — a 58-54 loss to Summers County on Feb. 15 — didn't end the way they'd have liked. That's why McCoy says the players are happy to play in front of the home crowd again. "The boys were a little upset with that. They want to redeem themselves."
Senior Adam Falbo concurs.
Falbo says he's "real happy" to be playing at home tonight, "especially after losing like we did on Senior Night and without Lucca (Giannini). It means a lot. I'm glad we've got another chance. We didn't want to lose the last game in the gym."
Richwood and Valley didn't meet in the 2018-19 regular season.
McCoy says the Greyhounds must be aware of Richwood's leading scorer, Jacob Holliday, and teammate Joe Kidwell, in particular.
"We're going to have to slow Holliday down," McCoy said. "We can't let him penetrate; we can't let him get loose.
"One-on-one, he's tough to stop."
Offensively, Valley "will have to take care of the basketball," as well as shoot a little better, McCoy said. "We're having problems making high-percentage shots."
"We know we've got to stop Jacob Holliday," said Falbo, who leads the team with a 14.0 points per game scoring average.
Falbo's senior teammate, Lucca Giannini, admits the Greyhounds have been a little inconsistent this season. But, they've worked hard in the offseason and in recent weeks to be ready for the tournament stage, he said.
"We gave up some games," said Giannini, who sat out two late-season contests after getting whistled for a pair of technical fouls in an earlier game. "We could have easily played a lot better (at times).
"If we play as a team, we're good. It takes work to get there, and we've worked."
Giannini scores at an 11.5 points per game clip, DeMello checks in at 11.3 ppg, and Harper scores 7.4 points a night. Giannini and Harper both claim 6.3 rebounds each time out.
Giannini says he and his teammates are poised for the challenge this week. "We're really focused," he said. "Everybody's got their heads on straight. We're ready."
"We've got to play as a team and really move the ball," Falbo said. "Our defense is pretty good.
"We need to get out and hit some shots early."
McCoy feels the 'Hounds can make some noise during tournament play in their final year. A tough schedule helped prepare them, he said. "At one time, we played four of the top five (in the state)." Valley won the Big Atlantic Classic Class A championship over Greenbrier West, and faced other top programs such as Greater Beckley Christian, Trinity and Charleston Catholic.
"It's do or die now, but these boys are capable," McCoy said. "If we come out and hit a few shots early, I feel comfortable."
The Valley-Richwood winner will play at No. 1 seed Webster County at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
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