HAZELTON – The heavyweight bout of the day featured the two biggest players on the court: Valley sophomore Zane Mussmann at 6-foot-4, and Dietrich’s Slade Dill, listed at 6-foot-6.
What a matchup it was.
Mussmann won the scoring battle as he finished with a game-high 26 points, but Dill and the Blue Devils won the war, as Dietrich raced to a 64-56 win over the Vikings Saturday afternoon at Valley High School.
“I thought we played really well most of the game, and they played really well,” said Dietrich head coach Wayne Dill. “It was a really fun game to see. It was a challenge for Slade today. We told him it would be a fun matchup, and it was.”
“We like coming and playing good teams like Valley,” said Dietrich junior guard Kade Shaw. “We wanted to get a full game out there and try our hardest.”
Dietrich is known as a team that likes to run the floor, and from the opening tip the Blue Devils were in a hurry. Dill led the charge and hit a 3 that put his squad up 8-0 in the opening minutes.
Valley head coach Brian Hardy called a time out and did his best to fire up his players. He remained vocal and demonstrative all afternoon in an attempt to promote urgency and aggressiveness.
“We talked about this game hopefully being a spark to get us out of the slump were in,” Hardy said. “We went up against a quality team where you have to rise up or you’re going to get buried. I wanted the kids to rise up and play.”
The Vikings responded as Mussmann got the first of many buckets down low. By the end of the first quarter, Valley cut the lead considerably and trailed just 19-17. Mussmann scored 13 points in that quarter alone.
Dill spent some time on the bench after picking up two early fouls, and Mussmann took advantage. Whether he was getting rebounds and putting them back up, or finding teammates wide open, the Vikings charged back and took a 25-21 lead midway through the second period.
Undeterred, Dietrich stayed the course and finished the half with a flurry of scoring. The Blue Devils went into the locker room up 33-31.
In the second half, Dietrich did its best to pull away. As opposed to its frantic, warp speed style of play, the Blue Devils slowly and deliberately built a cushion. Garrett Astle and Shaw attacked the rim whenever there was an opening, but the Blue Devils did its best to burn as much clock as possible while still playing fast. It was accomplished by quick decisions and even quicker perimeter passes.
“We have quickness and I have six guys who can handle the ball really well,” Dill said. “We left some points on the floor, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t run the offense well. It happens sometimes.”
Dietrich held a 48-43 advantage after the third quarter.
Tim Carlquist opened the fourth with a 3-pointer, and Valley was back within striking distance. But the Blue Devils hit key shots and sunk their free throws the rest of the way, until the last few seconds melted off the clock.
“Valley is a very well-coached team and I really like playing them,” Dill said.
“We missed a lot of layups tonight,” Astle said. “We focused on rebounding in the second half and came out on top.”
Valley was led by Mussmann’s 26 points. Ben Christensen pitched in 12 and Bryce Tvrdy had 8. The Blue Devils got 19 points from Dill, 15 from Shaw and 11 from Astle.
Valley (11-5) travels to Hansen Monday night where it hopes to continue to show progression and improvement as it breaks out of its mini slump.
“Are we satisfied getting run off the court, or were we out here to win? I think our intention was to come out and win the game today,” Hardy said. “We gave ourselves a chance to do that, and it was a good job by our boys. That type of effort needs to be more consistent.”
Because of snow cancellations, Dietrich had a double header on the day and took on Glenns Ferry later Saturday night.
“We came into the first game not trying to conserve energy or anything like that,” Astle said. “We knew we needed to take care of business against Valley, and then go try to take care of business against Glenns Ferry.”
Dietrich 64, Valley 56
Dietrich; 19; 14; 15; 16;-64
Valley 17 14 12 13-56
Dill 19, Shaw 15, Astle 11, Tew 8, Smith 7, Robertson 4 Totals: 20 20-28 64.
Mussmann 26, Farfan 2, Fenton 4, Carlquist 4, Christensen 12, Tvrdy 8, Totals 23 9-17 56.
DIETRICH – In the second game of a doubleheader, the Blue Devils showed no signs of fatigue, putting up 29 first-quarter points against Glenns Ferry, and jumping out to a 20-point lead early.
“We shot the ball well and ran the floor well. We’ve had a lot of games like tonight where we jump out with a big first quarter, then it’s just a matter of possessions after that,” said Dietrich head coach Wayne Dill. “Our guys were excited for the doubleheader. They came out excited this morning, and they kept up that excitement level tonight. It was a good, full day of basketball.”
Senior Jake Smith led Dietrich with 23 points, including five three-pointers, and junior Kade Shaw added 16. Senior guard Erick Ballesteros was hot from the field, finishing with 19 points for Glenns Ferry. The top-ranked Blue Devils (15-1, 8-0) next travel to Murtaugh on Monday for their sixth game in eight days. Glenns Ferry (6-7, 2-5) next host Shoshone on Wednesday.
Dietrich 71, Glenns Ferry 45
Dietrich; 29; 19; 12; 11;- 71
Glenns Ferry; 8; 15; 11; 11;- 45
Smith 23, Shaw 16, Dill 12, Robertson 3, Astle 6, Bingham 5 Tew 4, Page 2 Totals: 27 7-8 71
GLENNS FERRY (45)
Ballesteros 19, Williams 8, Garcia 10, Henslee 4, Grigg 2 19 1-4 45
3-point goals: Dietrich 7 (Smith 5, Shaw 2) Glenns Ferry (Ballesteros 3, Garcia 2, Williams) Team fouls: Dietrich 8, Glenns Ferry 4 Fouled out: None.