VAN — The Man High School boys’ basketball team’s season came to a end on Tuesday night as the Hillbillies lost 63-55 to the homestanding Van Bulldogs before a capacity crowd in the Class A sectional semifinals at the Van High School gym.
The second half was the difference as Man clinged to a four-point halftime lead at 38-34 only to get outscored by the Bulldogs 29-15 in the second half.
Van sophomore Taylor Jarrell was the man for Van as the Billies closed out their season at 15-9. The Bulldogs (19-4) advance to play Tug Valley on Friday night at Naugatuck in the sectional finals. No. 4-ranked Tug Valley (17-3) advanced with a 92-43 win over Sherman in Tuesday’s other semifinal game.
Taylor Jarrell led Van with 30 points. Cole Price added 15 points and 19 rebounds.
John Thomas Keffer paced Man with 14 points, while Josh Adkins had 13 and Kenny Jo Adkins 12.
The Billies jumped out to an early 10-6 lead on a floater in the lane by Keffer at the 4:01 mark.
Jarrell then hit a 3-pointer and a two-point hoop to give Van a 11-10 lead with 3:06 on the first period clock.
Man outscored the Bulldogs 6-2 in the final two minutes of play to take a 16-15 advantage after one quarter of play. Jake Adkins had two field goals and Keffer added another during the span.
Man pushed its lead to 27-21 at the 6:01 mark on a steal by Kenny Jo Adkins.
Josh Adkins came off the bench and hit a jumper in the paint to give MHS a nine-point lead at 31-23 with 3:50 left.
Jarrell later hit a 3-pointer to make it 35-29 with two minutes to play. Josh Adkins then hit two 3-balls for Man and Jarrell added two more 3s of his own as Man would take a 38-34 lead into the locker room.
Van came out and tied the game up on two baskets by Jarrell to make it 39-39 at the six-minute mark of the third stanza.
The Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run to take a slim 44-43 lead heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Van outscored the Billies 10-5 in the third period.
The Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run to open the final quarter on 3-ball by Jarrell, a hoop by Gregory Lail and a free throw by 6-foot-4 Price to give Van a 50-43 lead for good with 6:30 to play in the game.
Logan Crouse then went coast-to-coast after a Man turnover to build the Van lead to nine points at 52-43 with 4:06 left.
Van then spread the floor, taking time off the clock.
Lail then got loose for an easy layup to give the Bulldogs a 56-45 advantage with just 2:01 left in the game.
Josh Adkins hit back-to-back 3-pointers for the Billies to cut the Van deficit to 56-51 with 1:37 to play but Van was able to hit its free throws in the final minute and a half to preserve the win as Jarrell made 7-of-8 at the line to give Van a hard fought win.
Closing out their senior years at Man High School were Keffer and Jake Adkins, who both joined the 1,000-point club this season. Seniors Kenny Jo Adkins, Gabby Brown and Josh Adkins also played their final prep games at Man.
Brown finished with five points, while Cameron Simpson had three.
Lail and Logan Crouse had four points each.
Tug Valley 92,
NAUGATUCK — Tug Valley moved on to Friday night’s Class A Region 3 Section 1 championship game at home against Van with Tuesday’s 92-43 victory over Sherman at the Tug Valley High School gym in Naugatuck.
Calvin Blankenship led Tug Valley with 21 points. Tyler May scored 17 points and Garrett Brown and Jeremy Dillon both added 11 for the Panthers.
Caleb Duncan paced Sherman with 17 points.
Region 3 Section 1 Tournament
Saturday: Man 94, Montcalm 43; Sherman 56, Greater Beckley Christian 53
Tuesday: Van 63, Man 55; Tug Valley 92, Sherman 43
Friday: No. 2 Van at No. 1 Tug Valley