Spruce Mountain’s Mariyah Fournier tries to keep the ball in play as Mountain Valley’s Rylee Sevigny is ready to grab the ball during a basketball game at the Phoenix Dome in Jay on Friday night. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

JAY — The Mountain Valley Falcons knew entering The Nest on Friday that they would leave the place feeling like bunch of banged-up New England Patriots linemen.

Things got real physical in The Nest, but the Falcons (5-5) remained poised and grabbed a 48-37 victory over the Spruce Mountain Phoenix (3-7).

The Falcons earned every rebound and point against the Phoenix, who showed no signs of wilting after falling behind by 15 points.

“It wasn’t pretty,” Mountain Valley coach Craig Millege said. “(Spruce Mountain coach) Zach Keene is unbelievable. That guy can prepare any team for any opponent, regardless of circumstance. Coming down here is never easy. Coming down to this gym to play against a team coached by Zach Keene is always tough. They are lucky to have him here.

“I thought we grinded it out. I am proud of my team for playing really, really hard in a chaotic game. Walking out of here with a win is a good feeling.”

There were a few moments that the Phoenix were on the verge of gaining the upper-hand, but the Falcons were relentless, too, and kept their distance throughout the game. Mountain Valley carved out a 23-16 lead at halftime.

“I think the difference in the game was first four or five plays in the first half they (Falcons) made, and we didn’t,” Keene said. “When you play a team like that, you have to make those plays.

“We have definitely been inconsistent with making shots. Our thing is how we defend and how we compete. We did a good job with that tonight.” 

Mountain Valley senior guards Kierstyn Lyons and Avery Sevigny led the offense with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Forward Saydie Garbarini added eight points. So the team’s three seniors all had a hand in this victory.

Mountain Valley’s Rylee Sevigny (3) looks to pass the ball as Mariyah Fournier (12) tries to intervene in a basketball game in Jay on Friday night. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“Oh, every year, it is a blood bath,” Sevigny said. “I am surprised we got away with it tonight. As a team, as a whole, we were pretty unselfish — just pretty impressive for us.”

Lyons and Garbarini said the Falcons expected a tough game in a tough environment.

“I think we handled the pressure, honestly, and our defense got a lot better tonight than it usually is,” Lyons said.

“I think we came down here expecting the pressure, Garbarini said. “I agree with Avery. We played very unselfish. “

Millege was proud of three seniors and appreciates their contributions to the squad.

Mountain Valley’s Emily Richard (12) guards Spruce Mountain’s Kaylin Knowlton (22) in a basketball game in Jay on Friday night. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“The three seniors, Kierstyn, Saydie and Avery, those three in four weeks are no longer with us,” Millege said. “They mean as much to Mountain Valley basketball as anybody who has played here, hands down. They are wonderful kids. They are three-sport athletes. I can’t even picture this team without them.”

Senior guard Jaycee Cole helped keep the Phoenix competitive with ball-handling and scoring a team-leading 12 points. Freshman guard Mariyah Fournier contributed eight.

“We didn’t stop playing,” Keene said. “There was a time when got down 15. I think we cut it back to six. We just kept grinding and grinding and gave ourselves a chance. There is a lot to be said about that. We have got to start winning some.”

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