Buffalo's Dylan Rich (31) fights for the ball with Valley's Zac Warden.
BUFFALO, W.Va. - Buffalo's approach all season has been to run and gun and have some fun. That certainly was the case Friday night.
Senior Levi Jordan tallied 26 points, going over 1,000 for his career in the process, and the Bison rolled to a 75-55 victory over visiting Valley in the South Division finals of the Hometown Invitational Tournament.
Buffalo (15-1), riding a six-game win streak, meets St. Marys at approximately 7:30 tonight in the Division I title game to cap the third HIT at the Summersville Arena and Conference Center. The Bison will be out to defend the tournament championship it claimed last year.
"We look forward to playing St. Marys,'' said Buffalo coach Chuck Elkins. "They're about as good a test as you can get.
"You don't know about the tempo or what to expect, so we told the kids basically it's who does their thing the best. Can our pressure and our tempo overcome what they're trying to do? It's going to be good teams, a fun game. That's what it's all about.''
Buffalo, ranked No. 6 in Class A, sure had its share of good times on Friday night, forcing several early turnovers by the No. 10 Greyhounds (11-5) and jumping into a 39-29 lead by halftime.
Jordan reached his career milestone by sinking a pair of free throws with 4:03 left in the second quarter. He made it to 1,000 points one night after his girlfriend, Bison junior Chelsey Parkins, hit that figure in a game at Teays Valley Christian.
"It was a great thing,'' Jordan said, "but I couldn't do it without my teammates. They did a great job of getting me the ball and after that, they said it's in your hands, shoot the ball or do whatever you want.''
The third quarter broke it open for good - and Good. Jordan and Laythen Good each knocked down a pair of 3-pointers as Buffalo went on a 17-0 run to amass a 27-point lead.
The Bison hit 10 of 17 shots in the period. Jordan sank five straight in one stretch to rack up 12 of his 26 points. Good drained all but one of his four attempts to score eight of his 18 points.
"Sometimes we click and sometimes we let teams back in the game, and that hurts us,'' Good said. "Our momentum gets us fired up, but when we don't relax and we keep going - that's how we play our game. We want to run and we want to gun. We want to force people out of their comfort zone and keep playing.''
Valley committed eight of its 22 turnovers in the third quarter and compounded that by missing the shots it did take. After hitting better than 50 percent in the first half, the Greyhounds were a mere 10 of 34 in the second half.
"We turned up the pressure a little bit,'' Elkins said, "and picked up the pace and forced them into a lot of turnovers, and that was the game.
"We shot the ball extremely well in the second half. I hate to say it, but most of those looks for Levi and Laythen - those are becoming the norm. There wasn't anything unusual about them.''
Bradley Harris led a balanced effort on the boards for Buffalo by grabbing five rebounds. The smaller Bison led 30-27 off the glass.
Valley got decent efforts from some of its younger players. Freshman guard Henry Barron had 16 points, freshman Druw Bowen added 12 points and five rebounds, junior Raeshawn Breckenridge scored 10 points and 6-foot-5 freshman Zac Warden gathered in seven rebounds but left the game for a time with an injury.
"Tonight we were moving people in and out to try to get the right chemistry,'' said Valley coach Joe McCoy. "We played on all cylinders last night [in a win over Oak Hill], but the ball wasn't falling tonight and we turned it over too much and shot a low percentage on foul shots [6 of 14]. That's something that's haunted us all year, win or lose.
"We weren't getting back on defense. They beat us in transition several times with three on one early in the game, and that's something that shouldn't happen to our team, as quick as we are. We should be able to handle their press.''
The Buffalo-St. Marys game will complete a full day of activity in Summersville today, as seven HIT tournament games are scheduled starting at 9 a.m.
The fifth-place game pits Tygarts Valley against Greenbrier West at approximately 4:30 p.m., followed by the third-place game between Valley and Clay-Battelle.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.