Mountain Valley’s Leon Salmon tries to work around a double team in the backcourt by Spruce Mountain’s Jace Bessey (5) and Cam Phillips (11) during the second quarter of Monday’s game in Rumford. Adam Robinson/Sun Journal

RUMFORD — The boys basketball game between Spruce Mountain and Mountain Valley was suspended early in the fourth quarter after a threat was made during a school board meeting taking place in the Mountain Valley High School library at the same time.

With less than seven minutes remaining in the game, Mountain Valley interim assistant principal Tom Danylik asked Spruce Mountain coach Scott Bessey to call a timeout so he could talk to the referees and both coaches. The group dispersed and Danylik informed the crowd over the public address system that there had been a threat to the school.

“There was a threat made to the school during the school board meeting, and out of an abundance of caution we are suspending the game,” Danylik said. “Please exit the gym and take your time.”

The threat was reportedly made through Zoom.

Danylik said he was unsure if the game will be resumed on a later date or called as a final score.

SPRUCE BUILDS LEAD

At the time of the suspension, the Phoenix led 51-26 after outscoring the Falcons 22-9 in the third quarter.

Spruce Mountain’s Owen Bryant scored 11 points in the third and finished with a game-high 17. 

The Phoenix were aggressive on defense, switching from zone defense to man-to-man while mixing in a full-court press and some half-court traps. Spruce had nine steals and forced even more loose ball turnovers.

Bessey, though, said he wasn’t satisfied with Spruce’s effort in the first half.

Mountain Valley’s Airick Richard looks for an open teammate as Spruce Mountain’s Owen Bryant defends during Monday’s game in Rumford. Adam Robinson/Sun Journal

“I thought it was average, at best, early,” Bessey said. “It’s been a long preseason, and we’ve only played one day of exhibition games at Cony, the first weekend of the preseason. We had a bunch of kids that had to quarantine because of a positive (COVID-19) case, and they came back for two practices.

“Early (in Monday’s game) it looked like a team that was rusty, and I think we needed that first half to remember how to do it. Our rotations were slow, weren’t aggressive. It wasn’t our bread and butter, wasn’t how we practice, drill, but I don’t think it was their fault. It was a lack of cohesive play and it was opening night. At the half we talked about getting your hands up, rotating early and moving your feet, and I think the third quarter was a better indication of how we play.”

The Phoenix were more sharp in the third quarter.

With 1:22 left to play in the third, Spruce Mountain freshman Jace Bessey stole the ball at mid-court and passed the ball to Elie Timler for a layup and a foul. Timler made the foul shot, giving the Phoenix a 45-23 lead.

Bessey scored 13 points in the first varsity game of his career.

“I thought our offensive-set execution was good,” Scott Bessey said. “Jace played well in his first game, I was nervous about his first game.

“I thought our shot percentage and shot selection was fine. Very pleased with the opening-night win.”

Mountain Valley coach Scot New said the difference in Monday’s game was allowing Spruce Mountain go on runs during stretches that of decrease aggressiveness by the Falcons.

“We had moments where we looked pretty engaged and moments where we didn’t, and with Spruce you can’t let your guard down because they’ll push the tempo and get in transition,” New said. “We got within six points late in the second (quarter), and we had some great defensive stops and we got a rebound but turned it right over to them and they got a layup — those are things you can’t do against a team like that. We had our moments.”

Airick Richard led the Falcons with 11 points, and Zach New scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Spruce Mountain’s Jace Bessey surveys the Mountain Valley defense during Monday’s game in Rumford. Adam Robinson/Sun Journal

 

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