Valentine’s effort lifts Wolves past Catawba

Staff Report
Wolves completed an astounding second half comeback to defeat the Indians. - Courtesy photo

SALISBURY, N.C. — Down by 13 with 8:24 left on the clock, the Wolves completed an astounding second half comeback highlighted by double digit efforts from James Stepp, Marshall Lange and Rob Valentine to walk away with the 92-87 victory.

Free throw shooting proved to be the difference down the stretch as Newberry went 90% (18-for-20) in the second half while Catawba only connected on five of their eight attempts. Stepp, Lange and Valentine were frequent visitors on the line, combining for 16 of the team’s 20 attempts.

A pair of free throws from Stepp cut the Catawba lead to single digits at the 6:19 mark, but a quick layup from the Indians’ TJ Jeffers put Catawba back up by 11, 79-68, with just over six minutes remaining.

Back-to-back treys from Quaman Burton and Valentine sliced the gap five over the span of 23 seconds and forced a Catawba timeout.

Coming out of the break, the Wolves went on a 6-2 run highlighted by fast break layup from Jabrie Bullard to put Newberry within one with 4:08 on the clock. Bullard would end the night with 10 points and three steals.

Catawba’s Jeremy McLaughlin’s dunk made it a three point separation until a dagger from Xavier Hill on the ensuing possession tied it at 83 apiece with 2:57 left in regulation. The tie was the first of four that occurred in the second half.

A couple of made free throws from Lange and Valentine put the Wolves up 87-85 with 55 ticks remaining, but a dunk from the Indians’ John McRae tied it for the fourth and final time in the contest.

Catawba’s foul on Valentine helped him complete a three point play to give Newberry the 90-87 lead, one they would retain for the remainder of the matchup.

Despite shooting 54.5% from the floor in the second half, the Indians would go on to miss their next three shot attempts while the Wolves added two more points off of free throws to secure the 92-87 road win.

Newberry forced a season-high 26 turnovers which led to 18 points and 20 steals. Burton led the team with five steals while Bullard and Valentine each tallied three.

Valentine led the team offensively with 27 points, his seventh game this season with a 20+ point performance. Stepp and Lange each chipped in 16 and 13 points, respectively.

The first half was back and forth with neither side being able to pull away, resulting in four ties and five lead changes. Catawba went on a 7-2 burst to begin the contest, but Newberry retaliated with their own 6-0 streak to come within one early in the first half. Valentine connected from beyond the arc to push the Wolves past Catawba 11-9 for their first lead of the game. Newberry’s largest lead of the game came at halftime after an 11-2 run put the Wolves up 37-32 headed into the locker room.

The Wolves shot 43.3% from three-point range (13-for-30) compared to 31.6% (6-for-19) from Catawba. The Indians dominated in the paint outscoring Newberry 64-24.

Wolves completed an astounding second half comeback to defeat the Indians. completed an astounding second half comeback to defeat the Indians. Courtesy photo

Staff Report