By Lori Brown
GRAHAMSVILLE It was Senior Night on Friday evening at Tri-Valley as the four seniors on the T-V boys’ basketball team were recognized prior to an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division V game against the Eldred Yellowjackets.
David Donovan, Steven McInerney, Greg Swarthout and Conor Walsh presented roses to their loved ones during a pregame ceremony.
The seniors were also starters for their last regular season home game. Junior James Pugh filled out the starting lineup for the Bears.
The night turned out even more memorable for the seniors as T-V defeated the Yellowjackets, 70-39.
Pugh and Swarthout scored all 17 first-quarter points for T-V as it raced out to a 17-9 lead it would never relinquish.
T-V (12-6, 6-4 Div. V), which has already clinched a spot in next week’s sectional tournament, started off the second quarter with back to back 3-point shots to extend its advantage to 23-9. Pugh also recorded several steals which transitioned into easy layups as the Bears continued to pour it on.
Hazen led Eldred with 19 points while teammate P.J. Collins scored 14 points.
“We hung in there during the beginning, and it was tied at 7-7 after Brian Hazen hit a 3,” Eldred Coach J.J. Gass said. “We were careless with the ball and had turnovers. We made bad decisions defensively and we could not overcome it. They played really well and put pressure on us. They shot 3-pointers well.
“It was a physical game, but I am happy that P.J. Collins got called for being fouled,” Gass added. “My guys played hard and, as long as they gave everything they had, I have no complaints. There is a fine line between winning and losing. We only lost to Chester by three points and to T-V by four points the first time we played them.”
This was the last game of the season for Eldred, which will be losing six seniors, including Hazen.
“Hazen kept us in the game,” Gass commented. “He got into some foul trouble, but he is our best ball handler and best shooter on the court.”
Pugh paced the Bears’ offense with a game-high 23 points. Swarthout added 13 points for T-V.
“Our goal was to contain P.J. [Collins] as he got 30 points on us in the last game,” said T-V coach Brian Tingley of Eldred’s 6-foot-8 center.
“Steven [McInerney] was defending P.J. and did a good job. We wanted to keep him off the boards and prevent him from getting rebounds. They did a pretty good job and he didn’t score much against us.
“James Pugh came to play today,” Tingley continued. “He played great offense and defense. He was the only non-senior out there to start and played like he was a senior. The seniors did well. Greg [Swarthout] has played with more confidence in the last three games and stepped up his game.
“We have been getting better both on defense and offense. We improved a lot. Every game we have been playing better.”
While talking about the younger players, Tingley said, “We have a lot of experienced kids; they have all had quite a bit of time playing real minutes. They had to bail us out when people get into foul trouble. They will all be beneficial to us next year.”