by Michael Smith
In the first half, things were tight in Grain Valley’s non-conference boys basketball matchup with Platte County.
The Eagles led 16-12 at the end of the first period and were clinging to a 31-27 lead late in the second.
After the Pirates missed a 3-pointer, Grain Valley senior guard Reece Troyer grabbed a rebound with just five seconds left. He calmly went coast-to-coast and made a layup at the buzzer to put his team up 33-27 at halftime.
That seemed to be the momentum boost Grain Valley needed as it outscored Platte County 38-27 in the second half as it dominated in a 71-54 victory Tuesday at home.
“It was because of Eli (Herbert) that I was able to do that,” Troyer said of his buzzer beater. “He yelled ‘You have time.’ I looked up and saw I had three seconds left. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have had that.”
“I knew I had enough time. I have practiced that shot.”
Troyer has had a knack for making buzzer-beating layups this season as he had one in a game earlier in the season.
“Most people who get in that situation panic and chuck something up,” Grain Valley head coach Andy Herbert said. “He knew he had time to get all the way to the rim and finish.”
Grain Valley blew the game open in the third period by outscoring the Pirates 22-11 in the period. Senior forward Rhylan Alcanter had a major impact in the quarter, scoring eight of his 16 points, grabbing two rebounds and blocking a shot.
The Eagles (15-7) forced six Platte County turnovers in the third and they totaled 5-points off of those to go into the fourth up 55-38.
The Pirates didn’t get any closer than 13 points for the rest of the game as Grain Valley forced four more turnovers and stymied the Pirates with their suffocating defense on the perimeter.
“That’s how we won games at the beginning of the year,” Owen Herbert said of the team pushing the pace on offense. “We knew we were going to score points at the beginning of the year. We have a lot of talent on this team.
“When we were on our eight-game winning streak, we were getting eight to 10 steals a game. We did a really good job getting deflections today and Brock (Baker) was great on the wing.”
On offense, Grain Valley had one of its best games of the season as four players reached double figures. Freshman point guard Eli Herbert led his team with 19 points, senior guard Owen Herbert added 13 and Troyer chipped in with 11.
“I don’t know how many three we had, it was a lot,” Andy Herbert said. “We had multiple guys contribute. We have so many guys you have to guard. Who are they going to help off of?”
Grain Valley senior Reece Troyer, middle, drives between two Platte County defenders. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley freshman Eli Herbert tries to keep the ball inbounds. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley senior Owen Herbert tries to drive past Platte County senior Boston Whaler. Photo credit: Michael Smith
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