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Examiner
  • Grain Valley rally falls short

  • Even though Excelsior Springs’ boys led by 11 points with less than three minutes remaining, getting their first win over Grain Valley in five seasons of Missouri River Valley Conference West play was a matter of escape.

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  • Even though Excelsior Springs’ boys led by 11 points with less than three minutes remaining, getting their first win over Grain Valley in five seasons of Missouri River Valley Conference West play was a matter of escape.
    Trailing 46-35 with 2:37 remaining, Grain Valley whittled the deficit down to two and had a couple chances to tie in the final 15 seconds. But the visiting Tigers dodged a couple bullets fired by Eagles junior Daniel Mahurin and headed home with a 48-46 victory.
    Grain Valley (5-9, 1-2 MRVC West) overcame six-point deficits in each of the first two quarters to claim a 23-22 halftime edge. But after committing just five turnovers in the first half, the Eagles doubled that amount for the second half, a chief reason they had to rally in coach Andy Herbert’s mind.
    “We just got silly offensively for a stretch, and we turned it over too many times,” Herbert said. “But I’ve got no issue with the effort. We just got in a hurry. Excelsior plays so hard that if you turn it over they’ll make you pay.”
    The aforementioned stretch was Excelsior Springs’ 9-0 run in the third which put the Tigers (8-5, 2-1 MRVC West) ahead for good at 33-27. Up 33-27 in the fourth, a 3-pointer from reserve Alex VanFossan started a 9-2 run that seemingly had the Tigers sitting comfortably.
    The Eagles quickly clawed back, as a Hunter Ramirez hoop, two Ramirez free throws and Jordan Mahurin’s basket in traffic with 1:43 left trimmed the margin to 46-41. Mahurin missed a chance to complete the three-point play, and the Eagles turned it over after the rebound went out of bounds in its favor, but Daniel Mahurin’s deflection led to a Tiger turnover and his layup with 1:14 left.
    Excelsior Springs got a Logan Schreiner assist to Austin Lewis to push the lead back to 48-43, but two possessions later Daniel Mahurin buried a long 3-pointer, giving him 24 points on the night. Herbert called timeout with 18.7 seconds showing.
    “Mahurin’s an incredible player,” Excelsior Springs coach Chad Lang said. “I felt we had a hand in his face all night, and he still got his.
    “You just have to stem the tide. Basketball’s a game of runs, and we couldn’t have played any longer and still won the game.”
    Lang’s team did stem the tide – barely.
    Following the timeout, the Tigers tried a home-run inbound, but Grain Valley’s Blake Hottel knocked it away for a turnover. Daniel Mahurin’s jumper in traffic was well off, but the Tigers’ Jordan Redman was whistled for traveling after securing the rebound. Again Mahurin was off-target, and this time Schreiner got on the floor to secure the rebound before his coach called timeout with 2.4 seconds left.
    Page 2 of 2 - Grain Valley fouled Schreiner after the inbound, but just four-tenths of a second remained, leaving no time for a realistic shot after Schreiner missed the first of a one-and-one at the foul line.
    Excelsior Springs committed 13 turnovers in the second half after just two before halftime, but the Tigers broke down the Eagles’ zone defense well enough to shoot 12 of 22 in the second half. Schreiner led the way with 20 points and three assists, while Lewis and Austin Creason added eight points apiece.
    Herbert said his team wasn’t able to maintain its defensive intensity.
    “They made some good changes against our 1-3-1, and our intensity wasn’t as good as the first,” he said. “We had a long halftime (the school conducted its winter courtwarming ceremony), and it can be hard to bounce back.”
    Daniel Mahurin also had four steals for the Eagles, who shot 20 of 46 from the floor. Ramirez added 12 points and seven rebounds, and Jordan Mahurin finished with eight points, but just one other Eagle scored.
     
     

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