Friday night, the Bureau Valley and Putnam County boys basketball teams returned to Kewanee Weth-ersfield for the Wally Keller Invitational.
The Storm used a hot start and a dominant finish to beat Stark County 67-43 for their first win of the season, while the Panthers were doomed by a slow start in a 71-49 loss to Annawan.
Bureau Valley 67, Stark County 43
Bureau Valley fell behind 2-0 before cranking up the defense and scoring the next 14 points with Adam Johnson accounting for the first five on a long 3-pointer and a putback before the Storm got two-point hoops from Dalton Dean and Casey Homer.
Carter Salisbury canned a 3-pointer and Jonah Johnson converted a pair from the line to complete the 14-0 run.
The teams traded layups to finish the quarter with Raiden Porter, James Groter and Mathew McCauley doing the honors for Stark County and Zach Baker for the Storm to end the first 16-8 in BV’s favor.
The second saw the Storm’s Mac Nugent roll in a layup before the Rebels reeled off five straight, but Bureau Valley answered with the next seven points on layups by Devan Batten and Dean with Evan Eckberg adding a 3 to put the Storm up 25-13 with 3:30 to go in the half.
But the Rebels turned the tables on the Storm in the rest of the quarter and scored 12 of the next 14 points, highlighted by Porter’s four points to close the half with a slim 27-23 Storm lead.
The second half saw the Rebels continue to scratch away at the lead until they took a 30-29 lead on a Porter three-point play with a little more than six minutes left in the third.
The game tilted back and forth until the Storm started to assert themselves again, finishing the third quarter on a 10-0 run in which Eckberg tallied four points and Nugent three to give BV a little breathing room with a 46-35 lead with one period to play.
The Storm continued to supply the pressure building a 52-37 lead on a pair of Batten hoops.
BV used a 3 ball from Dean and three more from Baker to build a 63-41 advantage.
The Storm put the game away on a pair of hoops — one each from Logan Rinehart and Tyson Wagner — to win 67-43.
“We were streaky there tonight,” BV coach Jason Marquis said. “I thought we got a little sloppy in the middle, but we finally got in the transition game a little bit so we used our adage of defend, rebound and run. I thought we defended OK and rebounded well at times and we really haven’t run yet. But it was good to see us start to do that some tonight. In the second quarter our pace started affecting our offen-sive crispness and we started turning over the ball too much, but then we battled through the first part of the third quarter and we were able to end the game on a 34-10 run.
“The kids have been working hard. It hasn’t been easy, but because of that you end up with a W to-night.”
Annawan 71, Putnam County 49
The Braves come out on fire and ran out to a 29-5 lead at the end of one quarter with the Panthers’ only offense early coming from a pair of Matthew Liebhart buckets, while the Braves were led by Julian Samuel’s 11 points and five each from Isaac Shaw and Ryan Goodman.
The Panthers were able to gather themselves and play much better in the second when they reeled off 12 of the next 14 points with Jakob Pyszka leading the way with seven straight points bookended by a pair of free throws and a 3-ball from Jacob Williams to bring PC back to within 31-17.
Following four Annawan points, the Panthers battled back again with another Pyszka long 3, but An-nawan finished the half strong on five Reese Gripp points to take a 44-25 lead into the lockerroom.
After the intermission, the Panthers’ Stephen Mecagni burried a pair of free tosses and Liebbhart added a bucket to help PC keep pace at 51-29 before the Braves built the advantage to 64-33.
The Panthers didn’t quit and Liebhart rolled in a pair of buckets to make the score 64-37 after three stanzas.
PC used its press to create offense and scored the next eight on a free throw from Jacob Wiesbrock, a steal and lay in from Luke Pederson, a Pyszka 3 ball and a Nick Mattern hoop to cut the lead to 64-45.
But the run was stopped when Samuels picked off a Panther pass, streaked down the court and two-hand dunked the ball.
The Panthers and Braves traded a few hoops to bring the final to 71-49.
“It’s tough when you dig yourself that big of a hole,” PC coach Harold Fay said. “We came out sluggish and that is something we need to learn from. But then we started to play good team defense and were able to play better and get some offense off of that.”