RUMFORD — The Mountain Valley boys’ basketball team believes it has the ability to play with any opponent, and it certainly needed a solid performance down the stretch of its 69-65 win over Telstar on Tuesday.

Sophomore Jacob Blanchard scored 23 of a game-high 29 points in the first half. However, it was a pair of free throws that provided the difference as the Falcons rallied back to win at Puiia Gymnasium.

Class B South Mountain Valley (2-2) and Class C South Telstar (1-3) each came out with a plan to run with the ball, and therefore the uptempo game was filled with energy.

Telstar erased a double-digit deficit in the third quarter behind the duo of Tanner Wheeler (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Jarrett Bean (14 points, 11 rebounds), and took a 63-62 lead on a turn-around basket by Wheeler with 3:12 remaining in the fourth quarter.

“This team wants to run, and running with the ball it produced a big lead. But we need to (recognize) when it’s time to pull back and take time,” said Mountain Valley coach Tom Danylik, whose Falcons have won two straight by four points following an 0-3 start. “We made some big free throws when they were needed at crucial times. That’s what we need.”

Granted, there were trying times, but the players maintained their composure down the stretch.

Mountain Valley regained the lead on a 3-pointer by Keegan Davis from the top of the key with 2:37 left to play. The Falcons were ahead by three points and tried to take air out of the ball, which forced Telstar to foul.

Blanchard (10 rebounds, three assists, three steals, two blocks) sank 3 of 6 free throws in the final minute.

“The fast pace was what we wanted,” Blanchard said.

Telstar’s Avery Griffin (12 points) made a free throw with two minutes remaining, but then the Rebels started forcing the issue and missed three shots. As hot as Telstar had been in the third quarter (10 of 17 shots 61 percent), the Rebels were stone cold in the fourth quarter (3 of 16 shots and 3 of 10 free throws).

“That’s been the story of our season,” said Telstar coach Mike Pelletier, whose Rebels had a quick turnaround after having lost to unbeaten Madison, 55-44, the previous night.

“We look very good at times, like when we came back from that big deficit. But, there are times when the kids play like they want to, instead of how they are coached. At this point, we are tired of moral victories.”

Mountain Valley also played helter-skelter, making six turnovers in the fourth quarter after having committed four turnovers through three quarters. They made 5 of 8 shots in the fourth quarter; they missed 14 of 20 in third quarter.

Micheal Pare (14 points) and Davis (five rebounds) each drained treys, and Will Bean made a three-point play in the fourth quarter.

“We need to do a better job in our half-court set,” Danylik said. “In the fourth quarter, we wanted to isolate Davis underneath more, but we didn’t get him the ball.”

Mountain Valley shot 50 percent from the floor, had 10 turnovers and made 7 of 12 free throws. Telstar shot 41 percent, committed 11 turnovers and made 8 of 20 free throws.


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