Boys' basketball: Roosevelt stuns Valley for rare state ticket

Boys' basketball: Roosevelt stuns Valley for rare state ticket

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Boys' basketball: Roosevelt stuns Valley for rare state ticket

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The Roosevelt boys’ basketball team has a history with Peter Jok.
But it was another kind of history that was weighing on the Roughriders’ minds Wednesday – the 31 years that had passed since a state tournament appearance.
Roosevelt kept Valley star Jok under wraps long enough and made all the key plays down the stretch to win a 47-45 substate final at Southeast Polk, unleashing a celebration that had been building since 1982.
“I’m a Roughrider, graduated in 1998,” Roosevelt coach Chris McMahon said. “To take the alma mater back to state is really, really special. I’m most happy for these kids. They put the work in. Here we are.”
Jok, a 6-foot-6 senior bound for the University of Iowa, transferred to Valley from Roosevelt. He scored 17 points, but they were hard-earned thanks to a rugged Roughrider defense. Three times, he was called for traveling, and he picked up another three over-the-back fouls in the second half to force him to the bench at times.
The most physical defender was Roosevelt’s Chris Bennett, a friend of Jok’s since fifth grade. Bennett is a naturally aggressive player anyway, but with a trip to state on the line against an old acquaintance, he found an extra gear, scoring 19 points before fouling out. He set the tone early by shoving Jok out of bounds going after a loose ball, a play on which no foul was called.
“I just play against whoever’s guarding me, and I see how they’re playing me. And if they’re not playing me aggressive, then I just go at them,” Bennett said.
“There was definitely something extra here. We’ve been friends since we were little. This was a big game. But it wasn’t about us against Jok, it was about us getting to state.”
Valley led most of the game, but Roosevelt scored the game’s final five points to pull out the victory. None was bigger than the shot 6-7 sophomore Mario Manuel twisted his body and banked in in heavy traffic to put Roosevelt ahead for good, 46-45.
“I felt it. I had to take it for my team,” Manuel said after scoring 10 points.
Said McMahon: “Mario right now is one of the best-kept secrets in the area, but that’s not going to last for very long. He’s tough in there. His last four or five games, he’s come on strong. It doesn’t surprise me at all that he made that play.”
But Roosevelt’s poor free-throw shooting – misfiring on three of its last four – gave Valley three chances to regain the lead. On the final one, Jok dribbled upcourt against a double team, crossed halfcourt only to encounter another two defenders, and rose up for a contested shot that was off the mark. He headed to his sideline and kicked over a chair as the final horn sounded.
“I told our guys, expect a physical game, play with it, don’t bitch about the officials. And I thought we did too much of that, worrying about if the ref is going to call a foul, if he wasn’t going to call a foul, instead of just playing,” Tigers coach Jeff Horner said.
“A couple of things didn’t fall our way. And this season, a lot of things had fallen our way. You leave it to chance like that instead of taking care of business earlier in the game, that’s what happens.”
For McMahon and his Roughriders, it couldn’t have fallen any better. After a day of rest today, they’ll prepare for their first state tournament appearance in 31 years next Wednesday at Wells Fargo Arena.
“A couple of years ago there was a small group of people who didn’t think that could be done,” McMahon said. “And those people are gone and here we are.”
VALLEY (45) – Dafney 2 3-4 9, Boffeli 2 0-0 6, Jok 7 1-2 17, Truhlsen 1 2-4 4, Umble 2 0-0 6, Hinkle 1 0-0 3, Nixon 0 0-1 0. Totals: 15 6-11 45.
ROOSEVELT (47) – Manuel 5 0-3 10, Johnson 2 3-4 7, Bennett 5 9-11 19, Wells 1 0-0 2, Larsen 2 0-4 4, Tullis 0 1-2 1, Jones 2 0-0 4. Totals 17 14-25 47.
Valley…14-10-12-9–45
Roosevelt…12-11-8-16–47

3-pointers – Valley 9 (Dafney 2, Boffeli 2, Jok 2, Umble 2, Hinkle 1), Roosevelt 0. Total fouls-Valley 23, Roosevelt 16. Fouled out-V-Boffeli, Nixon, R-Bennett.

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Boys' basketball: Roosevelt stuns Valley for rare state ticket
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