The Braves standout suffers a scary first quarter fall and is lost for the game as the Valiants win 41-33.

STAFF PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Banks' Blake Gobel goes up strong for a shot during the Braves' state semifinal versus Valley Catholic March 9 at FGHS.Sports are great, and winning means a lot. But life has a way of giving one perspective, and everyone in Forest Grove's Basinski Center Friday night got a dose of it just 3:26 into the game.

Banks lost 41-33, but the outcome paled to compare to the concern on the faces of the thousands in attendance during and after a scary incident early in the first quarter.

Banks senior and Cowapa League Player of the Year, Dalton Renne, went up for a dunk attempt on a fast break during the Braves' state semifinal game against Valley Catholic and came down head-first on the hardwood beneath the basket. What ensued was roughly 30 minutes of fearful silence while trainers and later EMT's worked on the injured standout, and parents, coaches and spectators tried to process what they saw and were seeing on an energetic night that'd gone horribly wrong.

"Obviously it's going to affect how we play and what happens, but we just tried to stay together," said Banks post Blake Gobel. "It sucks, but it's bigger than basketball. I'm glad he's going to be okay."

And by all accounts that appears to be the case.

Renne was taken out on a backboard, but was moving and respondent as he left. The game was delayed for 45 minutes and the two teams adjourned to their locker rooms prior to resuming action on the court.

"We went back and said a prayer with our team," said Valley Catholic head coach Joel Sobotka. "I've never seen a kid down like that, and I know Dalton and like him a lot, and Marc (Roche) is one of the best guys around, so it was unfortunate."

Banks head coach Marc Roche said his team was obviously shaken, but on the flipside said he's never been more proud of his guys based on their response.

STAFF PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Banks' Dakota Bunn shoots a free throw during the Braves' state semifinal versus Valley Catholic March 9 at FGHS."The scariest part was in the beginning he wasn't moving," Roche said. "It was an emotional locker room when we went in, but I couldn't be more proud of the guys. We probably played as hard as we have all year."

Banks led 2-0 prior to Renne's fall and neither team found much of a rhythm after it. The Valiants took a 7-5 lead after a quarter and a 17-13 lead to the half.

Valley's Daniel Pruitt made it 19-13 to start the third quarter, but Gobel got two back, then following another Pruitt basket, the Braves pulled within one when Bret Cameron knocked down a three and Banks' Hayden Vandehey buried two subsequent free throws as a result of a Valley foul away from the ball. But the Valiants scored eight of the final 10 points of the quarter to lead 29-22 headed to the fourth.

The Braves' Trevor Geraci made it 29-25 with a quick three to start the fourth, and following consecutive three-point plays by Gobel and Slifka, Banks was within one and the stage appeared to be set for a fairy tale ending to an otherwise nightmare of a night. But Valley's Jack Tetzloff finished a drive at the rim and after a stop at the other end, Davis Johnson hit a three to give the Valiants a 37-31 lead and for all intents and purposes end the game.

Afterwards, Roche praised Valley in defeat, but also lamented the loss of Renne. Yet, while acknowledging life's inequities, used the tough circumstances to do what he's there to do – coach.

"It's a tough loss when you're used to having him on both ends of the floor," the coach said. "But so many guys made that extra effort to make plays and we were in the ball game down the stretch. We were playing for Dalton for sure."

Roche Continued.

"Tough things happen in life and this is a great example, but it's about how you respond. Hopefully Dalton has a quick recovery."

For Valley it's on to their second consecutive state title game, where last year they lost to Seaside. But according to forward Andrew Plambeck, this year the vibe is different and they're approaching the game with a new attitude.

"Were not going to get so excited," said Plambeck. "Obviously it's a big win for us, but last year, myself included, we got a little too excited and got to thinking that was the state championship. But whoever wins this game is going to be a really good matchup, and we'll be ready."

And while Valley is headed to final, the top-ranked Braves who've had their sights set on a state title, will be headed to the third place game where Coach Roche said his players will be ready to play.

"I think it goes back to what Dalton want us to do, and he wants us to go get that third place trophy," said Roche. "It obviously wasn't what we had our hearts and minds on, but that's life. Our motto is to compete no matter what, so that's what we'll do."

Banks was led by Gobel who had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Valley had no one in double figures, but had four players score between seven and nine points, while Johnson paced them with nine points and three boards.

The Braves will play Newport in the third place game Saturday night at 6:45 p.m.

The Valiants will have a rematch with Seaside in the title game at 8:30 p.m., both games will be played at FGHS.

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