It’s the halfway point of the basketball season and all thirteen teams from Twin Valley League are traveling to Onaga for the TVL Tournament. The TVL Tournament has been known as one of the best mid-season tournaments in the state for many years now. The Valley Heights girls as the #5 seed faced #12 Linn Bulldogs in the first round. The Lady Mustangs dominated the Bulldogs from the first tip by leading most of the game by double-digits. In the first round the Lady Mustangs beat the Bulldogs 66-32. Next up in the tournament was the boy’s games against the #11 Frankfort Wildcats. The #6 Mustangs were looking to avenge an early season lose to the Wildcats but started the game out slow and were down eight at halftime. In the second half, the Mustangs fought back and pulled out a 53-51 win against the Wildcats.
In the Quarterfinals of the tournament the Lady Mustangs faced the #4 Clifton-Clyde Eagles on Monday for a spot in the Semi-finals. Fast paced, up-tempo basketball was the story in the Quarterfinal match-up between the Mustangs and the Eagles. The Lady Mustangs led the whole way against the Eagles being up by double-digits for most of the game. The final score of the Quarterfinal game was 58-37 in favor of the Lady Mustangs. The Mustangs followed up the Lady Mustangs with a match up also against the #3 Clifton-Clyde Eagles. Turnovers and fouls were a big issue for the Mustangs which led to a 67-42 loss to the Eagles. With that loss, the Mustangs moved to the Semi-Finals of the consolation bracket to play #7 Wetmore Cardinals.
On Thursday, the Semi-Final games in the girl’s tournament took place and the first match up of the day was #1 Frankfort against #5 Valley Heights. Like the boys, the Lady Mustangs were looking to get revenge against the Wildcats for an early season lose. The Wildcats started out the game on a 7-0 run but the Lady Mustangs battled back and headed into the half down 25-24. The game stay closed the rest of the way and at the end of regulation the game was tied, 51-51. Both teams continued to fight in the first overtime and the game stayed tied 57-57. In the second overtime the Lady Mustangs finally pulled away from the Wildcats and won the game 65-58. Kayla Smith led the team in scoring with 28. The Lady Mustangs now moved on to the TVL Championship against the Centralia Panthers on Saturday. The following night Mustangs were up against the #7 Wetmore Cardinals in the Consolation Semi-finals. In the beginning of the game, the Mustangs got down early to the Cardinals but came back to get lead back in 3rd quarter. The Mustangs started to turn up the pressure on the Cardinals in the 4th quarter, eventually pulling away with the 68-58 victory. Jeremy Reed had 17 points and Cameron Beardsley led the team in scoring with 22 points.
On “Championship Saturday”, the Mustangs played for 5th place against the #8 Axtell Eagles. The Mustangs got out to an early 9-0 lead and held that lead heading into halftime, up 33-24. Coming out of halftime, the Mustangs struggled in the 3rd quarter and got down 36-34. The Mustangs rallied in the final eight minutes and beat the Eagles 59-45 to capture 5th place for the second straight year. Jeremy Reed had 13, Harrison Blaske had 15, and Bryan Yungeberg led the team with 17. “I thought we ended the tournament on a high note and the team is starting to get on a roll going into the rest of the season,” said Blaske. After the 3rd place games, the Lady Mustangs were up for their championship match-up against the #2 Centralia Panthers. The Lady Mustangs got up big on the Panthers in the first half using a 22-4 second quarter to head into halftime up 32-18. In the second half, the Panthers started cutting into the Lady Mustangs lead and used a strong 4th quarter to beat the Lady Mustangs 62-58. The Lady Mustangs finish 2nd in the tournament and were led in scoring by Sam Vermetten with 16 and Kayla Smith with 19. “Our players showed heart and grit during the tournament while being the 5th seeded team. As we head into the second half of the season we are really finding our rhythm which will lead us to success in Sub-State,” said DeAndra Woodyard. The girls are 8-4 and the boys are 6-6 heading into the second half of the season.