Spring Valley coach Perry Dozier kept a secret from his players on Friday.
The Vikings boss knew his team was assured of a second-place Region 4-4A finish and a first-round state playoff game at home for the first time in 11 years, no matter the outcome of their game against archrival Richland Northeast.
“I didn’t tell them because I wanted them to want to win this game bad,” said Dozier with a smile. “I also wanted to get second place and that home game clean. I didn’t want anybody to say we only got it because of the book (a tie-breaker). We earned it.”
The inspired Vikings pulled out a 56-53 decision in overtime. Spring Valley (16-9, 7-3) will play host to the No. 3 seed from Region 3 in its first postseason home game since 2002 on Wednesday.
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Richland Northeast (16-8, 5-5) also had nothing tangible to gain, but did have something to lose. The loss doomed the Cavaliers to a third-place tie with Ridge View and the region’s No. 4 seed. RNE has a first-round road date at North Augusta.
“The kids played hard, but we just had too many turnovers, too many mistakes,” Cavs coach Jason Powell said. “This is not what we want, especially at this time of the season and against good teams. We had our chances, but we didn’t make enough good decisions when the game was on the line.”
Devante Anderson’s runner from the lane rattled around the rim and out as the horn sounded at the end of regulation, leaving the score knotted at 48. Anderson’s desperation 3-pointer at the close of overtime was off the mark.
“We had the play (at the end of regulation) we wanted and we actually executed it well,” Powell said. “It’s tough when the ball just won’t go down like that.”
Spring Valley seemingly took command with a 13-4 run that produced a 42-34 lead with 6:40 to go, but the Vikings had a patience issue of their own with time waning.
“We spread the floor in the fourth quarter and it created some good opportunities for us to take it to the basket, but we ended up rushing things too much,” Dozier said. “It was a great win against a team that doesn’t get the credit it deserves, but we’re not where I want us to be right now, I can tell you that.”
Sophomore Perry Dozier Jr. led the Vikings with 24 points. The 6-foot-3 guard scored seven of Spring Valley’s eight points in overtime. Dominique Taylor backed Dozier with 18 points, nine in the fourth quarter.
Quiron Cooke scored all five RNE points in overtime and finished with 23 points.
RNE: T. Williams 5, Scott 2, Quiron Cooke 23, Benjamin 4, Anderson 8, Mark Phillips 11. SV: Legette 1, Thomas 2, Dominique Taylor 18, Perry Dozier 24, Taborn 2, Johnson 2, J. Williams 7.