If there was any doubt about how badly Blue Valley North wanted to win Friday night’s home showdown against Blue Valley Northwest, they were answered in the final minutes of North’s 56-43 victory.
North coach Ryan Phifer and the Mustangs encouraged the student body to pump up the volume while sophomore Colby Bullock shot the final free throws of the game.
The Mustangs, 8-4, couldn’t put away BV Northwest through three quarters. But Joey Dolan’s three-pointer two minutes into the fourth quarter was the shove that finally sent the Huskies reeling.
“This game had a lot of hype to it, and I knew our fans would show up in full force and be loud,” Dolan said. “We just fed off of it. We kind of got off to a slow start, but once the fans got into it we started hitting some shots and we just took off from there.”
Dolan finished with a team-high 14 points, and was one of four Mustangs to finish in double figures.
North was the deeper team on Friday night, in terms of both bench and scoring. That was evident in the fourth quarter.
“We felt like our offense was a little stagnant for a while, but we felt like we were able to knock down some big shots,” Phifer said. “Joey Dolan knocked down some big threes. Mychal Masterson and Michael Valentine each hit some big shots for us. That opened up a little bit for Cooper Cook to get things going inside.”
Northwest, 4-7, led by a point after the first quarter and was as close as three points midway through the third quarter. The Huskies got 15 points from Dalton Schoen and 13 from James Atwood.
North finally pushed the lead to nine points midway through the fourth quarter and never looked back.
“We started to play together and not just be selfish on defense. We started helping out, and helping the helper,” Dolan said. “We started moving the ball and getting open shots. I was hitting, and everyone else was hitting too.”
BV Northwest, which beat BV North in last year’s Class 6A state title game, just ran out of steam.
“I thought we set the tempo. I thought we had good shots. We did a good job of getting the ball inside,” Northwest coach Ed Fritz said. “I was pleased. We have a really young team. We played a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. We’re going to be a good team here pretty soon. We’ve just got to keep working at it.”