by Michael Smith
Whenever the Grain Valley boys basketball team runs its offense, the players are patient and selective when they shoot the ball.
The offense involves a lot of off-ball movement and cutting to get players open.
It’s a system designed to get players open for catch and shoot opportunities. While the spacing helped junior Rhylan Alcanter to dominate inside with 20 points and get shooters open, whenever the Eagles had to dribble the ball, that’s when William Chrisman was aggressive in Tuesday’s Suburban White Conference matchup.
Chrisman used a zone press and an aggressive half-court defense to force 16 Eagles turnovers. The Bears also hit some big shots in the second half as Grain Valley fell 50-45 on the road.
“We struggled a little bit against their pressure,” Grain Valley coach Andy Herbert said. “Cylas (Brewer) got hurt in the first quarter and we had to make some adjustments. In the second half, we did a better job of taking care of the ball."
“We had a few key possessions where we needed to get good looks and we weren’t able to do that.”
The Bears attacked the Eagles (9-10, 3-2 conference) with double teams and traps to create steals.
“We wanted to make them bounce it because we know that’s not what they really like to do,” Chrisman head coach Jake Kates said. “When they run their offense, they are really patient, Andy (Herbert) does a good job.”
The teams were tied at eight apiece at the end of the first period and the Bears led by as many as 12 points in the second and took a 22-18 lead into halftime thanks to Grain Valley junior Owen Herbert hitting a pair of threes during an 8-0 run to close out the half.
Grain Valley tied the score twice in the third period, but threes from Chrisman junior Trey Kates and senior Cameron Dickerson didn’t allow the Eagles a possession with a chance to take the lead.
The Bears (14-5, 3-1) took a 32-31 advantage in the fourth and conventional 3-point play from Herl, who led Chrisman with 11 points, sparked a 12-3 run to go up 44-34 early in the period. The Eagles battled back with a 11-4 spurt of their own that was capped by a Rhylan Alcanter layup to narrow the gap to 48-45 late. However, Grain Valley came up empty on its final two possessions while seniors Herl and Jessie Minter split a pair of free throws to seal it.
“We got it to a one possession game and had the ball. We weren’t able to get into the set we wanted to run,” Andy Herbert said. “That’s due to their pressure. (Chrisman) did a great job running us off the 3-point line.”
“We really just need to make a couple more baskets or get a couple more stops.”
Owen Herbert added 14 points for Grain Valley, including four 3-pointers.
Grain Valley junior Owen Herbert drives toward the basket during a 50-45 loss to William Chrisman Tuesday. Herbert finished with 14 points. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley junior Reece Troyer, right, takes a 3-pointer. Photo credit: Michael Smith