JAY — One of the tenets of the new hyper-tempo, 3-pointer-prone offense Mountain Valley is running this year is that if you hold a team to under 50 percent shooting, all you need to shoot from beyond the 3-point arc is 33 percent to outscore them.

Mountain Valley shot just 11 percent (3-for-27) from beyond the arc in Monday night’s Mountain Valley Conference clash with Jay, but the Falcons were so effective from inside the arc and on the defensive end that they still pulled away with a 65-46 win.

Cameron Kaubris poured in 16 of his game-high 18 points in the first half as the Falcons improved to 2-0 in the Tigers’ season-opener.

The 3’s didn’t go down for the Falcons, but they did help open up the inside, and Mountain Valley took advantage with good ball movement. It shot 64 percent (9-for-14) from inside the arc in the first half to open a 32-18 lead and never looked back

“That’s the system that coach (Rick) White put together. Even if the shot’s not falling, we’re still moving the ball really good, we’re still making them work on defense, so we’ll be able to get easier shots inside,” Kaubris said. “We weren’t hitting those 3-point shots, but we were able to make a few easy shots and then the outside shots started to fall for us.”

Izaak Mills added 11 points and five assists off the bench and Brady Fergola scored eight of his 10 points in the second half. Kyle Storer led Jay with 10 points and 13 rebounds, while Austin Clark added 10 and Jordan DeMillo nine points and seven boards.

“We’re still a work in progress as far as this transition offense,” White said. “We looked great the other night (in an 81-37 wiu over Madison). We shot 37 threes and we made 12. Tonight, I don’t know how many threes we made, but the looks were still there. Our goal is to try to shoot as quick as possible on every possession, and I thought the kids pushed it real well.”

Jay doesn’t exactly take the court wearing cement shoes, either. The Tigers like to run, and they kept pace with the Falcons for the first quarter-and-a-half. They trailed 12-8 after one and, after a quick Falcon run to open the second period, DeMillo’s inside hoop made it 19-14 Falcons with about four minutes left.

“We don’t mind running. What we don’t want to get into is playing their quick-shooting game,” first-year Jay coach Brian Kelly said. “We don’t have to shoot it real quick and we’re not really an outside shooting team, necessarily. We worked on that in practice the last two days. We found when we had one group playing that style, the group that was supposed to be us started playing Mountain Valley’s style.”

The Tigers wanted to pound the ball inside to DeMillo and Clark and got away from that in the second quarter. Turnovers and offensive rebounds also plagued Jay.

Mills scored off a Cole Clark feed after the latter pulled down a miss, and that kicked off a 13-4 Mountain Valley run to end the half. Mills’ slashing to the hoop got him to the free throw line for four points and then set up a Fergola hoop for a 32-18 lead at intermission.

The Tigers only got as close as a dozen in the second half. Jon Benjamin hit the Falcons’ only trey of the second half, then Mills set up Kaubris for a layup and Ryan Laubauskas beat the third-quarter buzzer with a short turnaround to open up their largest lead to that point, 18 points.

“The inside cut, the face cut, it’s going to be open every time because they’re going to be playing us out to the three. We understand that,” Kaubris said. “We knew Jay is a well-coached team and they have a bunch of great players, so we knew they were going to have some kind of game plan. We weren’t going to be able to walk all over them tonight.”

Kaubris, the Falcons’ leading scored from last season, was seeing his first action this season and scored just two points in the second half. But Mountain Valley spread the ball around effectively to Fergola, Jacob Arsenault (eight points) and Benjamin (six points, eight rebounds) and shot effectively from the free throw line (16-for-22) to keep Jay at a safe distance.

“I haven’t shot the ball in over a week. Tonight was my first time shooting,” said Kaubris, who is recovering from a separated shoulder suffered early in football season. “Boy, it felt really good coming in tonight. I felt I had a good game. My teammates kind of carried me through the second half when I was getting tired. I’m not in shape yet. I’ll be the first one to tell you that.”


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