By RICH KELLY
For the Star Beacon
The Grand Valley Mustangs got off to a slow start Friday against the Ledgemont Redskins and it proved to be too much to overcome as they fell, 62-55.
After Kyle Orgovan, the hero Tuesday night with a free throw against to Mathews that won the game, hit a pair of free shots to tie the game, 2-2, only 28 seconds in 2-2, Ledgemont ran out to a six-point, a cushion it would hold the rest of the night.
The lead reached double digits jus before the half when Anthony Jennings found Matt Conklin alone under the hoop for a bucket and it remained in that way for much of the second half.
A late Mustang spurt cut the lead to the final score.
“Really, the game was lost in the first half,” Grand Valley coach Luke Strohm said. “(Ledgemont) did a good job of executing its offense and defense. For some reason, we seemed to be a little flat at times. I was happy with our defense and I was happy with our rebounding against a much taller team, but our offense was stagnant.
“We couldn’t fine any comfort zone attacking. We passed poorly in the third quarter and then in the fourth quarter, we finally put it all together to make a run, but it was too little, too late.”
The Mustangs also had problems keeping Jennings under control. The young guard used his lengthy arms and legs to get all over the floor at both ends to set the defense for coach Greg Fronk and fuel a dominating effort that kept the Mustangs from getting good looks inside.
“The last three games, Anthony has really come around,” Fronk said. “After the Madison game, when he was pretty much dominated, he’s stepped up and shown some arrogance on the court. We want him to handle the ball more and make things happen. He’s shot well since Madison and he has handled the ball more, too. He can score as well. He’s had 27 and 33 points our last two games.”
Jennings didn’t reach those levels in this game, as the Mustangs played some solid defense of their own, but he did lead his team with 21 points. His five steals kept the Mustangs from putting together any scoring runs and his nine assists kept his teammates involved in the offense all the way.
“We’re blessed to have some good bigs on this team,” Fronk said. “When you add in having the quickness of Anthony and Derek Lang out front, we are able to extend our zone defense a little more. I think we pushed Grand Valley a bit farther out than they normally shoot from and we were able to stop their inside game a bit more, too.”
Griffen Degener was the only other Redskin in double figures with 11 points, but a pair of long 3-pointers from Brandon Grabinski in the second period kept the Mustangs from climbing back into the game.
The Redskins managed 13 steals among a total of 21turnovers by the Mustangs (2-7, 2-3 in Northeastern Athletic Conference) proved to be too much of an obstacle to topple.
The long climb back for the Mustangs actually began late in the third period as Jake Vormelker hit a trio of 3-pointers on his way to a 22-point night. Josh Kovats (10 points) hit all three shots he took in the fourth period, including a pair of treys and Kyle Orgovan added six more as GV tallied 24 points, but had to foul to stop the clock. Ledgemont hit 8 of 13 down the stretch to close out the win.
Vormelker tallied 22 points for GV, Orgovan and Kovats each had 10, but the Redskins (6-4, 4-1) hit for 51.1 percent from the field on 49 tries and it was enough for the win.
Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson.