The Paint Valley Bearcats have been preparing for this moment all basketball season, and Tuesday night the hard work paid off with a Division 4 Sectional Championship 58-48 win over Portsmouth Clay.
The Bearcats overcame a 10-2 deficit to start the game, and held-off a threat from the Panthers when Clay rallied from a a 32-23 PV lead to take a brief 39-38 advantage in the fourth quarter.
Clay led 10-8 after one quarter, then after a brief tie at 10-10 early in the second period, Portsmouth Clay grabbed a 14-10 lead. That's when the Bearcats went on a 11-0 run for a 21-14 lead, then went to halftime up 21-16.
Paint Valley held a 36-31 lead after three, and briefly saw Clay up by one, before PV finished on a 20-9 close for the 58-48 win.
The Bearcats had four players in double figures, led by Michael Crabtree's 17 points, followed by Anthony McFadden's gritty performance of 16 points. McFadden, who had been ill all day, was able to play through his sickness as a major contributor. Clay Stratton added 12 points and 8 rebounds, while Mason McCloy struggled with his shooting, but still managed 11 points and 12 rebounds.
(12-10) Clay was led by 6'6 senior Eldin Sarajlic and freshman guard Mate Hinze with 12 points each.
Both teams shot the exact total from the field, 19/56 for 34%. PV was 3/15 from the arc, while Clay was 5/21.
The foul line was a big factor in Paint Valley's win, going 17/22 compared to Clay's 5/10. Paint Valley also won the rebounding battle against the taller Panthers 35-33 and forced 19 Clay turnovers, while only committing 12 of their own.
(9-14) Paint Valley advances to their first district tournament since 2003, playing March 3rd at the OU-Convo against South Webster. The Jeeps were 65-54 winners over Racine Southern Tuesday.