Hidden Valley Holds Off Late Cave Spring Run for 52-51 Win

Cave Spring played catch-up the entire evening Friday night against Southwest County rival Hidden Valley.

Cave Spring's #2 Terrell Simmons hits from behind the arc over the outstetched arm of Titan defender Ben Munsey as the Knights begin their late comeback.
Cave Spring’s #2 Terrell Simmons hits from behind the arc over the outstretched arm of Titan defender Ben Munsey as the Knights begin their late comeback.

In the end, thanks to a lot of opportunities given by the Titans, the Knights final shot at the buzzer came up short, and Hidden Valley escaped the Cave Spring gym with the 52-51 River Ridge win that left both teams tied in district play at 3-2.

“We never could get into an offensive rhythm in the first three quarters,” Cave Spring head coach Billy Hicks noted in the Knights locker room afterward. “Three-point shots are a big part of our repertoire, and tonight we were 4-for-24.”

Cave Spring dug itself into an early hole, trailing 14-7 after one quarter and 26-19 at the break, in a first half that saw Hidden Valley spread the floor and work for easy shots off their motion offense.

“I told our kids to go to the hole. We didn’t need to be looking for outside jumpers,” Hidden Valley head coach Troy Wells pointed out. The Titans only took five shots all night from behind the arc. “It worked great for 30 minutes, then we couldn’t throw it in the ocean.”

The Titans pushed their advantage to 13 points in the third quarter, leading 39-26 heading to the final frame. Hidden Valley still maintained a seemingly comfortable margin when Ben Munsey connected on a pair of free throws with 1:54 left for a 49-37 Hidden Valley lead.

Cave Spring began their comeback on a Terrell Simmons runner followed by Connor Baker’s 3-pointer that cut the deficit to 49-42.

Both teams got two free throws, before Cave Spring’s Jaret Lipps hit from behind the arc and Simmons canned a pair of free throws to trim the Hidden Valley lead to 51-49. Hidden Valley had missed four straight free throws between those two Knight scores that opened the door.

Hidden Valley’s  Dylan Hodson, who had torched  Cave Spring all night with a game-high 27 points, hit one-of-two free throws with :25 left for a three-point Titan lead.

Baker was then fouled on a three-point shot, sending the Cave Spring senior to the line for three free throws. He calmly swished the first two before the third rattled out, leaving Cave Spring down by one.

Hodson was fouled with :04.7 left, and when he rimmed out both, Cave Spring called time and had a final chance with :03.5 left. The final short jumper by Ben Lacy fell just short as Cave Spring appealed for a foul on the contested effort.

“Boy, we opened the door with all the missed free throws,” Wells said. “I know what we’ll be working on tomorrow.”

“I’m very proud of how our team came out tonight and competed,” he added. “To come here on their floor and slide out of here with one is pretty special. It’s been frustrating at times this year, but we’re 3-2 in the district and right in the mix. It gives us a chance.”

“The crowd got to me,” Hodson admitted on his rare free throw misses. “Cave Spring was first in the district and it’s a huge rivalry game-it’s a very big win for us.”

“We’re still 3-2 in the district and it’s going to be a dogfight,” Hicks noted. “We’ve won both of our district road games (Salem and Blacksburg), and are 1-2 at home. I don’t know if these guys relax more on the road with the bus ride or what. Typically we’re strong at our place.”

While Hodson’s 27 was the only double-figure performance for the Titans, Munsey and Hayes Nelson followed with six points each.

Cave spring was led by Simmon’s 14 points, with Baker adding 11 and Lacy 10.

by Bill Turner

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