WINTHROP – When things don’t go well at tournament time for Mountain Valley High School, this is the kind of game we typically hear the Class B Falcons don’t see enough in the Mountain Valley Conference.

Well, maybe they haven’t yet experienced an evening in the cavernous Cumberland County Civic Center, but the Falcons have seen two playoff-caliber games in five nights. And they’ve handled both just fine, thank you.

Down by double digits early in the third quarter, Mountain Valley harassed Winthrop into a complete offensive meltdown and stormed away with a 52-40 victory Wednesday night in a battle of MVC boys’ basketball unbeatens.

Jeremy Childs scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half for the Falcons (9-0). Andy Shorey led Mountain Valley with 18 points, 13 rebounds and five steals, most of those swipes courtesy of a suffocating half-court trap that the Ramblers (8-1) will be fighting in their sleep for a night or two.

“Defense,” said Shorey. “We score most of our points off our defense. It just took us a while.”

After leading 28-17 at halftime and working the ball inside to Tim Gingras for an easy hoop to start the third quarter, Winthrop committed 13 turnovers and went 2-for-19 from the floor.

Tyler Smithgall scored every Winthrop point for the remainder of the game. The 6-foot-3 senior finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.

“I warned them at halftime. If I was coaching against my team, I’d put pressure on them, too,” said Winthrop coach Dennis Dacus. “Once a good team like that gets momentum, it’s hard to get it back. If we could have put together just one spurt, we would have been alright.”

All five starters scored for the Falcons during a run of a dozen unanswered points that put them back in it. Later in the third period, Childs knocked down an open 3-pointer to trim the deficit to one. Shorey’s steal set up a baseline drive by D.J. Gerrish that gave Mountain Valley its first lead of the night, 34-33, to close the period.

Smithgall swished two free throws to keep the deficit at one with 6:26 remaining, but Shorey scored six and Childs drained another trey during the 11-0 surge that followed.

“People always talk about us not playing Class B teams during the season, but there are a lot of Class C teams in our conference that would be competitive in the Class B tournament this year,” said senior Travis Fergola, who supplemented eight points with six assists and four steals and combined with Shorey to prevent Winthrop from blowing it open early.

Mountain Valley survived an emotional, double-overtime win over neighboring Dirigo on Saturday night before Monday’s follow-up with Winthrop was postponed due to icy weather.

In theory, the two extra days should have helped the Falcons. But the lull might have triggered a brief letdown. Winthrop bolted to a 7-0 lead, rode out two Mountain Valley rallies and parlayed a balanced scoring attack into the cushy halftime edge.

Smithgall scored six in the half, while Sam Leclerc, Mike Gingras, Nate Damm and Corey Gillespie each canned a 3.

“I thought we had a good practice on Tuesday, but we looked a little sluggish in the first half,” said Mountain Valley coach Dave Gerrish. “(Then) we got after it. We started pressing a little bit, trapping a little bit. We found a rhythm.”


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