AUGUSTA – T.L. Tutor and Ian Siekman survived eight stressful minutes without committing one more foul. Now the Gould Academy boys’ basketball stars have two days to get ready for at least one more game.

Siekman, Tutor and Seth Gray each scored seven points in the fourth quarter Wednesday morning, rallying No. 2 Gould from a seven-point deficit to a 52-44 Western Class D semifinal victory over No. 3 Valley High of Bingham at Augusta Civic Center.

The Huskies (16-0) set up a battle of unbeaten teams against the Richmond Bobcats (19-0) in the regional final at 2:45 p.m. Saturday. Gould, a college preparatory school of 248 students located in Bethel, won five Western D titles from 1970 to 1982 but hasn’t been back to the sectional final since.

Valley (12-7) ends a historic streak of nine consecutive appearances in the Western title game.

“We knew Valley would be tough. They’re always here. They’ve won it so many times. To be able to beat them is fantastic,” said Gould coach Todd Siekman. “We’re one step away from our goal.”

Evan Bruens scored a team-high 15 points and hauled down 10 rebounds for Gould. Overcoming their extended absence, Tutor added 12 points and four steals while Siekman chalked up 11 points and 17 boards.

While point guard Tutor and athletic big man Siekman were relegated to the bench with four fouls apiece, Gould saw a 26-21 lead disappear into a 34-27 sinkhole late in the third quarter. Valley carved up Gould’s short-handed, man-to-man defense for open 3-pointers and frequent lay-ups.

The Huskies successfully switched to a zone and received a life-saving lift from the return of their two captains, but Valley didn’t surrender the lead until Gray nailed a 3-pointer with 3:05 remaining in regulation.

“We were so focused on (Tutor and Siekman) that we kind of lost track of who the next-best shooter was,” said Valley coach Dwight Littlefield. “We just didn’t do the job in the last few minutes.”

Brandon Osgood brought the Cavaliers back within one point at 43-42 on an inside bucket with 2:46 left. Siekman answered with an uncontested drive, and Gray capped a clinching 11-3 run with a pair of free throws.

Siekman secured four offensive rebounds and four defensive caroms after his return to the game with 5:47 left. His domination of the defensive glass further complicated a quarter in which Valley shot only 4-of-14 from the floor.

“Valley has such a long tradition of making it to the finals every year,” Ian Siekman said. “It’s really great to knock them out.”

Trevor Miller led Valley with 11 points, including nine in the second half. Curtis Miller chipped in 10 points and dished out seven assists, while Stefan Staples contributed nine points and 13 rebounds.

Gould finished the first quarter on an 8-0 surge to stamp out a 14-7 lead. Evan Bruens and his brother, Tyler, combined for nine points in the period.

Tutor picked up his third foul with 1:50 left in the half, and Lucas Hines hit a lay-up to cut the Cavaliers’ gap to three, 22-19, at the half. Less than two minutes expired in the second half before Tutor obtained his fourth foul. While the playmaker sat in his warm-up jersey and watched, Gould committed six turnovers.

“I knew we could come back,” Tutor said, “but I wanted to be out there helping my team.”


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