Home finale a dud for Valley
The crowd inside Grover C. Redford Gymnasium was poised to celebrate Wednesday, but didn't get the chance as the Missouri Valley College basketball teams lost their regular season home finales.
Down by 12 points at halftime, the Vikings got within striking distance down the stretch, but couldn't make the play they needed during a 92-88 Heart of America Conference loss to the Evangel men.
The Crusaders nearly bombed Valley into oblivion during the first half, making 12 of 17 shots from three-point range -- seven by sophomore Cade Coffman, who piled up 25 points by halftime.
The Vikings' largest lead of the period was six points on a lay-up and three by senior Mason Schlotzhauer and junior D'Angelo Young-Pryor's fast-break bucket four minutes into the contest. Once Valley lost the lead, it never regained it.
The margin hovered between seven and 15 points until the Vikings made their charge, starting with senior Alonzo Williams' trey with 7:34 left in the game. Schlotzhauer hit from outside to narrow the deficit to five points at the 2:45 mark.
Valley didn't make another field goal, but three free throws by senior Darrell Watson trimmed the lead to two points with 1:21 remaining. Coffman was fouled after stealing the ball and made both free throws for a two-possession margin with 14 seconds left. Another turnover shut the door on a comeback.
Coffman finished with 31 points and nine rebounds for the Crusaders (16-13, 12-11 HAAC), who moved into a three-way tie for sixth place with the Vikings and Baker.
Valley got 16 points each from Schlotzhauer and Watson. By virtue of its season sweep of ninth-place Central Methodist, the Vikings (15-13, 12-11) aren't in danger of falling into the play-in round of the league's post-season tournament even if they lose Saturday at Grand View.
The Valley women had already been eliminated from the tourney field before falling to Evangel, 79-60.
The Lady Vikings held a five-point lead at the end of a break-neck first quarter. Valley broke a tie with back-to-back bombs from senior Payton Funk. However, after scoring 26 points during the opening stanza, it managed only 32 points the rest of the game.
The Lady Crusaders caught up on sophomore Bayley Harman's put-back with 2:36 left in the first half. She followed that with a three-pointer a minute later, and Evangel didn't trail again.
The Lady Vikings stayed close through the mid-point of the third period, but an 11-point EU run -- spurred by freshman Sadie Chisum's seven points -- left them in the dust. The Lady Crusaders held a double-digit lead the remainder of the game.
Evangel (18-9, 16-7) was led by senior Emma Landers' 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Senior Sierra Adams had 16 points for Valley (5-21, 4-19), which closes its season Saturday at Grand View.
Contact Chris Allen at email@example.com