Both of Central Valley’s squads came into play on Wednesday in the ‘Stinky Sneaker’ rivalry games ranked in the top 10 of the state’s RPI system.
You know what they say about throwing out the record books in league play – especially during spirit week. And though University’s teams battled, CV swept the games.
All-league guard Ellie Boni scored 29 points for the Titans, but MJ Bruno dominated with nine points in the fourth quarter and the No. 9 ranked Bears rallied from an eight-point, fourth-quarter deficit and prevailed 50-49 in the early game.
Peyton Howard drove the length and scored an uncontested layup with 40 seconds left to put CV up 48-46. U-Hi turned it over on the other end, and Bruno’s follow off an offensive rebound with 6 seconds left sealed it – despite Boni’s 3 at the buzzer.
“I just saw it off the backboard and I knew it needed to go back in if we wanted to win,” Bruno said. “They would’ve only have to hit a 3 and we still wanted to make them win the game, so I knew it had to go in.”
Howard led CV (8-3, 4-2) with 15 points. Bruno finished with 13 and Chloe Williams added 12.
“In practice, we’ve been working hard because we’ve been down and we’ve gotten a bad attitude and we haven’t been able to fight through it,” Bruno said.
“I’m just really proud of our kids,” CV coach Felice Orrell said. “They could have easily just been like, ‘We’re done,’ and that’s something we’ve been working on is, how do we compete when we’re not winning?”
U-Hi (4-8, 2-4) used a 9-2 run midway through the first to open up a 17-11 lead after one quarter.
The Bears trimmed the deficit to 23-20, but Boni went the length of the floor after a steal and U-Hi led 30-22 at intermission. Boni had 15 in the half.
The Titans picked up one bucket in the first 4:15 of the third as CV cut the deficit to 32-28. Boni’s layup just before the horn put U-Hi up eight entering the fourth.
CV used a Bruno-fueled 9-3 run to make it 42-40 with 4:55 left. A shot clock violation out of a timeout by U-Hi led to another basket from Bruno and a tie game.
“I think we missed 12 layups to start the game,” Orrell said. “I just told the kids, you know, ‘Stick with it, they’ll fall,’ and I guess we had a run at the right time.”
CV leads the Stinky Sneaker series 17-8 with one tie.
Dylan Darling came off the bench to score 19 points and the No. 4-ranked Bears (11-1, 6-0) outlasted the Titans (4-8, 2-4) 63-60 in the late game.
Jayce Simmons and Gavin Gilstrap added 12 points apiece and Noah Sanders had 11. Sophomore forward Conrad Bippes led U-Hi with 19.
Darling came in averaging under seven points per game.
“He was averaging double figures early,” CV coach Mike Laws said. “His minutes (have been) kind of here and there of late. But he’s a spark for us and he’s the guy that will get to the rim.”
“It was a heck of an opportunity and I took advantage of it I guess,” Darling said. “I was just confident in what I could do.”
The Titans led 16-9 after one, but CV bounced back, with Darling doing most of the damage. He had nine points in the second, and his scooping layup at the horn helped CV lead 28-26 at intermission.
After a back-and-forth third quarter, Darling nailed a 3 at the horn, was fouled, and made the free throw, and CV led 52-47 after three.
Ryan Clay hit a long 3 to keep CV up five early in the fourth. Simmons’ short jumper put it at seven with 56 seconds left.
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