By: Jodie Mink
Holding on until the end, the TVT Titans beat the Salmon River Salves on their home court to end the last of the regular season games. Every Long-Pin boys basketball game being played on Friday night mattered. That was also true for the TVT-Salmon River match-up.
A senior night game in the Salmon River gym usually provides a great game, regardless of the win-loss records for the competing teams. The Titans started off the game strong with the starting 5 of Barnett, Bunker, Kindall, Wood and Mink. Playing smart with multiple fouls allowed the five that started to also play the entire game with no help from the TVT bench.
Kindall controlled the jump for the Titans while also working inside for the first 6 points of the game. At the 4:55 mark into the first quarter Barnett hit a 3 pointer from the opposite corner and the Titans lead 9 to 2. A drive by Bunker extended the lead to 11 to 2. Salmon River started a ¾ court trap at the 4 minute mark and was able to drop a few baskets with the added pressure. The quarter ended 15 to 6 with the Titans having good ball movement and consistent pressure defense on Salmon River’s shooting guards.
The Titans controlled the defensive rebounding for the second quarter, with Kindall and Mink pulling down key rebounds. Barnett controlled the paint on the offense end, driving on multiple occasions to lay in 2 pts. With 2:30 left in the 2nd quarter, Salmon Rivers’ ¾ trap caused the Titans back to back turnovers. A quick timeout by coach Morris for the Titans allowed them to regroup. Barnett came out and hit a 3 pointer from the corner, followed by a steal and a lay-in. The Titans entered the locker room up 31 to 16.
The start of the 3rd quarter remained consistent with the previous two quarters with the TVT moving the ball well on offense and working to control the shooters on defense. Wood had a 3 point shot from in front of his bench at 2:31 left in the 3rd quarter to extend the biggest lead for the Titans at 42 to 24. The end of the 3rd saw some key shots by Salmon River fall. The Salvages put up 7 unanswered points in the last 2 minutes to carve away at the Titan lead. The Titans lead by 14 going into the 4th quarter.
Salmon River was determined to provide their 2 seniors with a win on their home court. The unanswered points that occured at the end of the 3rd followed into the start of the 4th. Salmon River hit some big 3 pointers, provided intense full court pressure defense, that led to 3 bad passes by the Titans. At the 4 minute mark, the lead had dwindled to 5 points. A back and forth fast paced game found Salmon River within one with a score of 50 to 49. Mink was fouled in the open court and went to the line for one and one. Mink was able to make the first shot fall, but failed on the second attempt. With 42 seconds left in the game, the Titans were up 51 to 49. Tough, smart defense by the Titans did not allow the Salvages a good shot in that 42 seconds. A stripped ball by Mink as the Salmon River player drove, along with tough outside pressure by Barnett, Wood and Bunker all combined to hold onto the win- 51 to 49. Was it pretty for the the Titans...No, not in the 4th quarter, but it needs to be acknowledged that the Titan players and coaches didn’t panic. Salmon River did a great job of making the shots in the 4th, and nothing for the Titans would fall. But TVT kept playing. They trusted each other to play tough defense, and in the end, the WIN was secured.
Scoring for the Titan win was Barnett with 20 pts, Kindall with 16, followed by Bunker with 7, Woods with 5 and Mink with 3. An unbalanced scoring push in the 4th quarter lead to a tighter game than what appeared in the first 3. The Titans were able to put up 15, 13 and 15 respectibally in quarters 1 thru 3, but only put up 5 points in the final quarter. A game of trusting your defense and not panicking gave the traveling Titans fans a game to remember.
With the Win, the Titans found themselves in a 3 way tie for 4th place in the Long-pin conference. Pre-season tie breakers placed Horsebend with the 4th spot, TVT in the 5th spot and Salmon River in the 6th spot. The Titan will open up District play on Monday, February 17th at 6:00 pm in McCall vs Horsebend. We hope to see you there!