Senior center Andre McPhail led all Deer Valley scorers with 13. Joining him in double digits were sophomore guard Kendall Smith and junior guard Dylan Williams, who netted 12 each. Senior forward Obah Pope chipped in for 11 of his own.
“Considering the circumstances, I liked the effort,” said Wolverines head coach LeChet Phillips. “We had to adjust, missing two starters in our backcourt.”
Fans who left after the first quarter might have been surprised to learn that Deer Valley won – and certainly surprised at the Wolverines' 70-point explosion. The Patriots led 13-9 after one quarter and made it hard for the Wolverines to connect on their passes.
By halftime, however, Deer Valley led 29-21. Three-pointers accounted for all 12 of Williams’ points. The two he made in the second quarter helped give the Wolverines some breathing room.
Another part of Deer Valley's sluggish start was a 1-for-10 performance from the free-throw line in the first half. The Wolverines settled down in the second half, sinking 10 of 15 from the charity stripe and five of seven in the final quarter. Phillips acknowledged the poor free-throw shooting, calling it a work in progress. The fourth quarter was where the game was put away, as the Wolverines outscored the Patriots 24-8.
Heritage senior guard Dorian Hardy matched McPhail’s 13 points, but none of Hardy’s teammates got to double-digits. Senior swingman Kyle Reynolds was second on the team with nine.
“It was a good comeback,” said McPhail. “Everybody played as a team; everybody was unselfish and tried to make everyone better. We need that the whole season. They were the league champions last year. With them coming in here, we knew we had to play strong.”
Entering the week, every team in the Bay Valley Athletic League was 1-1. The loss dropped Heritage to 2-2 in league and 12-8 overall. Deer Valley, 2-0 on the week, owns a 3-1 league record and 14-5 overall.
“It should be 4-0. We had a little slip-up, but we learned from that,” said McPhail, alluding to his team’s 74-71 loss against a sub-.500 Pittsburg team. “We’ve had a couple of slip-ups; they humbled us. We need to come back from them, get it rolling right off the bat, and blow out a team – early.”
The night wasn't a complete loss for Heritage. The junior varsity squad won a 59-56 thriller, climaxing in a Wolverines three-point, game-tying attempt that hit the rim but didn't fall. The Patriots Ethan Magalei led all scorers; Robert Bershell topped the Wolverines.