SMITHERS, W.Va. - After losing two of its last three games, Valley really needed a win to gather some momentum heading into sectionals.
A pair of Greyhound sophomores made sure that Valley's upperclassmen didn't have to work too hard on senior night to get that victory.
Sophomores Zac Warden and Henry Barron-Houchins scored 26 and 22 points, respectively, as Class A No. 7 Valley built a 13-point halftime lead and cruised to a 77-66 win over visiting Sissonville on Tuesday.
After losing back-to-back games against Tug Valley and Clay-Battelle, the Greyhounds (18-3) picked up a win at Fayetteville on Monday and built off that momentum on Tuesday.
"I said we had a little bit of the Tug-itis," Valley coach Joe McCoy said. "We went over there and got beat by three and I didn't think we played well over there. Tug is a good team, they're going to take it out of you. We come out of there and had to go up and play in the HIT championship against Clay-Battelle and you go up there and make 5 for 15 from the free-throw line and 3 for 17 from 3-point and 30 percent from the floor and still in the ball game - at least we're playing defense.
"We've been on a two- or three-game slow streak and I was just glad to see them come out of it and play."
It all started early with Warden, who knocked down a 3-pointer to start the game. He was far from done though, as the 6-foot-6 post player flashed some impressive inside-outside game as he knocked down 4 of 6 shots from long distance and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
"Coming off a couple of losses, we had to come into this game because it's getting down to sectionals and we've got to start playing our ball, we can't keep playing sluggish," Warden said. "We came out and played good all four quarters and got the 'W,' so we did our job."
"Zac's a go-to guy," McCoy said. "He can play inside-out. You get [Raeshawn] Breckenridge moving the ball and getting it to him, that's what we have to work on."
After a close first quarter, McCoy adjusted his lineup in the second, bringing in guards Donte Wilkerson and Tracy Conliffe off the bench to crank up the speed of play. It worked as the Greyhounds ended the period on a 21-10 run to take a 38-25 lead into the break.
Then it was Barron-Houchins' turn as the point guard poured in 18 second-half points and was a general nuisance to four freshmen back-court players (Bryce Taylor, Chance Brown, Seth Bowlin, Blake Newhouse) for the Indians (9-13).