Unbeaten Banks suffers first defeat to Valley Catholic
You can't win them all.
Well, I suppose you could. But in all likelihood the Banks boys basketball team – who entered their Feb. 6 game with Valley Catholic undefeated – was not going to go through the 2017-18 season without a loss.
And they won't.
The Braves lost a hard-fought game to the Valiants 55-42 Tuesday night at Valley Catholic High School in Beaverton. The Braves took a one-point lead to the fourth quarter, but after a couple quick Valley threes, coupled with a series of Banks misses, the home Valiants salted-away the remainder of the game and with it the Braves' unblemished record.
"Basketball is a game of making plays and we didn't make enough tonight," said Banks head coach Marcus Roche. "It's disappointing, but I think we have a good group of guys and I think this will help us refocus on some things that we've been slipping at a bit."
Valley was led by junior guard Peter Boileau who scored 11 points on three three-pointers. But it was the Valiants' well-rounded effort that resulted in five different players scoring at least eight points, coupled with their ability to get to key rebounds and loose balls that ultimately did Banks in.
"Games like this come down to making plays, and they made a lot of plays on both ends of the floor," said Roche. "We're usually a team that gets a lot of second opportunities and we didn't get those tonight. We didn't turn them over and we didn't get to loose balls. They were getting the second opportunities and guys hit shots and stepped up."
Banks had beaten Valley twice already this season, but despite the defeats, head coach Joel Sobotka has seen improvement from his relatively young squad and expected a better effort against the No. 1-ranked Braves this time around.
"I knew that both times we played them prior we didn't compete with them," Sobotka said. "We've been playing with better energy our last few games and simply had a better mindset. I knew we had it in us and I was proud of the guys and their effort tonight."
The Valiants started strong, jumping-out to an early 8-0 lead. But Banks – behind senior forward Dalton Renne – battled-back, closing within 10-7 before a late Valley three by Boileau made it 13-7 at the end of one quarter.
Boileau started the second where he left off the first, hitting from behind the arc to start the quarter and Valley built a nine point lead before a Jacob Slifka bucket to close the quarter sent Banks to the locker room trailing 29-22.
Renne and standout post Blake Gobel however turned things in the third, outscoring Valley 17-7 on their own to give the Braves a 39-36 lead before an Andrew Plambeck basket pulled the Valiants within one headed to the fourth – where Valley turned the tide.
Boileau and Davis Johnson hit back-to-back threes to open the quarter, then after three Slifka points cut Valley's lead to 44-42, it was all Valley, all the time. Senior post Jack Grasberger scored under the basket to give the Valiants a four point lead, and when junior point guard Jack Tetzloff finished an and-one with 1:59 remaining, Valley's lead was seven and the Braves were staring their season's first defeat squarely in the eyes.
"We just didn't play good enough offensively, which has been a bit of a struggle for us the last few games," said Renne. "Were not making the hustle plays we were earlier in the season and that really hurt us tonight. We just need to put forth more effort."
Valley controlled the pace for the bulk of the game, and in doing so often pushed the Braves into forcing shots on the offensive end and hesitating defensively.
"Their 1-3-1 gave us problems tonight, and it didn't allow us to attack like we do," said Roche. "We didn't make too many outside shots and I think that effected our confidence a bit."
Sobotka agreed that pace was a factor in both their earlier losses and their win on this night, and thought execution was vital to getting open shots against a formidable Braves defense.
"We're not a great one on one team, but when we're moving, screening and cutting, we can get good shots," the Valley coach said. "And tonight guys were ready and when they got open looks they knocked em down."
Roche certainly wasn't expecting to lose, nor was a he pleased with the result, but the coach acknowledged the Valiants good play and said he expected them to "bring it" after consecutive losses to his Braves.
"We knew what they were capable of, they're really well coached and they really wanted this game," Roche said. "Teams are gunning for us. As good as this league is and as good as the coaches are in this league, teams are making adjustments. We can't just show up."
Despite the loss, a frustrated Renne said his team will take the defeat and use it to get better.
"Ultimately this was probably good for us," he said. "This will help us get back the focus we need going forward."
Renne led Banks with 17 points and nine rebounds.
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