Late arrivers at the Hidden Valley High School gym Monday night didn’t have to worry about missing any of the varsity action between the top two teams in the River Ridge District.
In the undercard junior varsity game, the Patriots and Knights went three overtimes before the Cave Spring underclassmen outlasted their Patrick Henry counterparts 68-65.
Things then really went into high gear.
Taking advantage of a late surge of driving scores in the paint, Patrick Henry rallied from a 5-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter to pull out the 62-58 win over previously unbeaten Cave Spring.
PH used its physicality to take control in that stretch, and Cave Spring’s usual strength from behind-the-arc went dry in the final minutes to allow the Patriots the opportunity to grab the win as visitors due to the Knights adding to its long list of “home” courts while construction continues at the Cave Spring complex 2 miles away.
Both teams had shaky starts as the packed house watched the two teams play to an 8-8 deadlock after the opening quarter. But, if the extended JV game played any role in that, nobody thought twice after an up-tempo second quarter that saw Cave Spring take a 10-point lead before settling on a 33-29 advantage heading to the halftime break.
The Patriots outscored the Knights 13-11 in the third to cut their deficit to two, and game was on between the two squads who began the night with unblemished district records.
Cave Spring still had a chance in the final 10 seconds, down 60-57 with the ball. But, PH head coach Jack Esworthy decided to foul rather than give Cave Spring the opportunity for any of its deadly 3-point shooters to get off a good look. The strategy worked as Knight junior Reed Pendleton made one of two free throws. The Knights, down 2, fouled PH’s Jamonte Smith with 5.8 seconds left and Smith sealed the deal by making both from the charity stripe for the final 4-point margin.
Pendleton had a game-high 21 points for the Knights, with seniors Parker Huffman adding 12, and Adnan Jasarevic netting 11.
Smith paced Patrick Henry with 20 points, while Jalen Crump added 13 and Jalen Cook pitched in 10.
The two teams have the rematch in the Patriot gym on February 4th.