The Penns Valley boys’ basketball team saw a double-digit, second-half lead disappear Tuesday night, but the Rams survived.
They fought through the Bald Eagle Area full-court pressure and survived with a 48-44 victory.
“We persevered,” Rams coach Terry Glunt said. “It’s not easy winning on the road.”
It also delivered a milestone for the Ram leader, with his 200th coaching victory.
“I don’t remember my first one,” Glunt joked. “… It’s been nice at Penns Valley, a real nice career with great kids, great fans.”
Glunt told his team in the locker room after the game.
“Pretty awesome,” said Luke Snyder, who scored a game-high 20 points to go with nine rebounds. “We were part of his 174th win to take the lead (all-time) at Penns Valley and now we’re part of No. 200.”
Keith Butts added 11 points, Andrew Tobias pulled down seven rebounds, and Aaron Tobias blocked four shots.
Jordan Jones’ 19 points paced the Eagles in their season opener and Parker Hilderbrand added 11 points and 14 rebounds. Jaden Jones picked up five steals and Andy Bucha gave out four assists.
Snyder helped drive the Rams through the first half, when he scored 16 of their 26 points, including all 12 of their points in the second quarter. He didn’t miss any of his first 11 field goal or free throw attempts, also drilling a pair of 3-pointers.
Penns Valley shot to a 10-0 lead to start the game, led by nine at halftime and twice led by 11 in the first three minutes after halftime.
But Jordan Jones caught fire, as did the Eagles’ full-court pressure. BEA forced 24 Ram turnovers, including 14 after the break.
“That’s going to be us all year, getting up and down the floor,” BEA coach Bill Butterworth said. “We started to force some turnovers in the second half and our press started working a little bit.”
The press contributed to far fewer touches for Snyder, and when he did get chances he missed, with tired legs from playing nearly all night and a third game in four days.
“I don’t fault him for losing some steam,” Glunt said. “He’s a big boy.”
“A little bit (tired) and they were starting to double-team me,” Snyder said. “But I got it to the other players on the team. They helped me out.”
BEA battled back to tie the game at 39-39 on a Bucha put-back, and got its only lead at 41-40 on a Jordan Jones drive to the basket from the wing. He sank one free throw for a 42-40 lead. Jones scored 13 of his points over the final 13 minutes.
“(Jordan) Jones is very talented,” Glunt said. “He hit some deep threes against us and shots people hadn’t been hitting. He did a nice job taking the ball to the hole too. He put his team on his shoulders.”
But Cameron Shaffer set up Butts for a layup to tie the game seconds later, and an Andrew Tobias put-back put Penns Valley ahead for good with 2:56 left.
The Rams were not spectacular from the foul line, making just 4 of 10 attempts the rest of the way, but did just well enough to seal it.
“Any road win’s a big win,” Snyder said. “Especially against a rival like Bald Eagle. We’ll take anything like that.”