Unadilla Valley 61, Walton 56
NEW BERLIN – UV junior Justin Hofer’s fantastic three-point shooting performance in the first half almost went for naught.
Walton was a rimmed-out shot away from erasing a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit. Following a UV missed free throw, Walton had one more chance at the lead, but Hofer stole the inbounds pass, and converted the layup. Walton turned it over again, and Brett Smith fed Hofer for another layup to ice the five-point win.
“We don’t have a lot of guys with experience in pressure situations, and we made some bad decisions with the basketball in the fourth quarter,” said UV coach Matt Osborne.
Through three quarters, though, it was all Unadilla Valley. Hofer scored a career-high 36 points, 23 of those coming in the first half when he drained seven of nine three-point attempts. Jesse Ranger also hit a three to push the halftime lead to 33-22.
In the third, Ranger hit a pair of short runners in the lane and Brandon Miles buried a stop-and-pop three ball. Late in the third, Hofer put back an offensive rebound, and then tipped in a miss by Kurt Haycook lifting the UV lead to 15.
Early in the fourth, Smith’s driving basket raised the Storm’s advantage to 50-33.
Ben Conklin spearheaded Walton’s comeback with eight points in the fourth quarter. Dan Jacquays added a three ball, and a Jacquay steal at midcourt led to a layup putting the Warriors within one, 57-56 with less than 30 seconds to play.
After one of UV’s eight fourth-quarter miscues, Jacquay’s short jumper in the paint was halfway down the cylinder before caroming out to UV rebounder Brett Smith.
“Every win is a big win in the MAC, and it’s been a while since we beat Walton,” Osborne said. “We shot the ball really well from the outside in the first half, and Hofer dominated the last 10 seconds of the game.”