Seymour, Pascack Valley roll over rival
This was only Jamie Seymour's third game back from a summer knee injury, so his running is still being kept under control while he gains leg strength and gets his wind back.
That restricted activity was no problem at all, though, for the 6-2 junior or his Pascack Valley team. In fact, the short-distance travel was more like the ideal game plan.
Seymour flashed from low block to low block and converted what he was fed as he scored eight of his team-high 10 points in the fourth quarter to rally Pascack Valley to a 41-39 win over rival Pascack Hills before a packed, raucous crowd Sunday afternoon in Hillsdale.
"I was just posting up strong in the fourth quarter, looking for the ball," Seymour said. "My teammates were just feeding me and I was looking to finish."
Seymour tied the game at 39-39 when he scored off a pass by Glenn Scalia off a sharp cut to the hole with 2:09 remaining and provided the game-winner 45 seconds later with another strong inside move off a feed from Adam Morra. Hills (7-3) turned over the ball twice in the last 1:38 and missed a potential game-tying jumper with one second left.
Pascack Valley (8-2) utilized Seymour's clutch interior scoring and the rugged rebounding work of 6-3 junior Kyle Schneider (four of his 14 rebounds) to bounce back from an almost disastrous third quarter. The Indians had seized a 26-14 halftime lead with a brilliant third quarter (19-2), but surrendered momentum with questionable shot selection and far less pressure out of its zone defense than it enforced in the first half.
"I feel like we thought we had the lead and we kind of backed off a little. Can't be doing that," Schneider said. "We have to play a full four quarters as a team and make them shoot the outside shot."
Pascack Valley wasn't forced by Hills to shoot from the perimeter in the third quarter, but decided to do so anyhow, and often settled for the first--not the best--look available. It was 1 for 10 from the floor that period while Hills snatched the lead behind the scrappy, heady play of senior guard Cole Dorfman.
After going scoreless in the first half on eight shots, Dorfman ratcheted up his defense and penetrated the lane to erupt for 11 of his 15 points in the third. He'd knotted the game at 29-29 with a four-point play off a 3-pointer and free throw with just under three minutes left and opened a 31-29 lead with a steal and layup with 17 seconds remaining.
Coleman choreographed Seymour's positioning and his teammates' entry passes between quarters, and the response was immediate. Seymour opened the period with a bucket underneath off a pass by Scalia and Morra followed with a putback on the next possession for a 33-31 edge with 6:11 to go.
"Fundamental basketball," Coleman said. " Two feet is easier than 19.9, and we're actually known as a shooting team. But we said we’re gonna pound it to their weakness, which is our strength.''
Pascack Valley possessed a slight size advantage, which made its zone effective. Hills has quicker guards, which made their runouts off third-quarter misses the Cowboys' most efficient weapon.
"We settled a lot in the third quarter," Coleman said. "As we had (written) on the board, "Long shots equal long rebounds. ' That means them getting out in transition, which is their game. Game plan was to zone them, keep them in front. They got out on some runs in the third quarter and that hurt us."
But help was one crooked finger away on the bench, just as it had been all afternoon. Seymour was the star reserve with his fourth-quarter exhibition, but sophomore guards Chris Jackson (five points) and Ryan Onderdonk (four points, four rebounds) also chipped in to help the Indians' bench outscore Hills' reserves, 19-0.
"I'd say it's all about the coaching. Our coaching staff is unbelievable," Seymour said. " They're the best coaches in New Jersey. They give us the instruction and the momentum. We just do our job."
Seven players scored for Valley, including Schneider and Morra with six points each. Dorfman, Andy Kovner (13 points) and Jared Shill (11) were the Cowboys' only scorers.
Mike Kinney covers boys basketball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeKinneyHS