Canyon Springs boys basketball coach Freddie Banks didn’t panic when his team fell behind by double digits early in the first quarter Tuesday, or when it trailed by nine points at the half.
Instead, he opted to tell his players to relax and just let the game come to them.
Canyon Springs did that, and rallied in the second half to top visiting Valley 74-67. The win gave the Pioneers sole possession of first place in the Northeast League.
“The biggest part of the comeback was that we kind of relaxed,” Banks said. “I told them, ‘Hey look, we got the second half. We’ve got to come out and play well and shoot the ball. Calm down.’ Then the kids kind of settled down.”
Valley (18-4, 4-1) opened the game on a 17-4 run, and was 11-for-21 from the field (52 percent) in the first quarter to take a 25-13 lead.
Shea Garland scored 12 of his 16 points in the first half as Valley took a 41-32 lead into the locker room.
The Vikings also limited Canyon Springs’ star and recent Texas-El Paso commit, Shaquile Carr, to two points and three turnovers in the first half.
Canyon Springs (16-4, 5-0) finally found its groove late in the third quarter. The Pioneers were down 51-43 before going on a 9-0 run in the final three minutes of the quarter. Chris Nelson started the run with a 3-pointer, and Brandon Edmond’s basket gave the Pioneers their first lead, 52-51, with 30 seconds left in the quarter.
Carr bounced back in the fourth quarter, scoring eight of his 15 points.
Jordan Davis had 22 points, six rebounds and four assists for Canyon Springs, which also got 11 points apiece from Gerad Davis and Nelson.
“Jordan Davis played well tonight,” Banks said. “I didn’t take him out of the game at all. Hopefully he’ll come back next time and be ready to go.”
Cameron Burton led Valley with 20 points, and teammate Gerard Harden scored 10.
“Canyon Springs is a good team,” Valley coach Brian Farnsworth said. “They didn’t quit, and they’ve got five really good guards that go out there and run up and down the court. We’ve just got to take this one to practice and get a little better for the next time we play them. It’s a tough one to lose, but we had our chances. We’ve got to keep our heads up and learn from a loss. Our season’s not over. Our goals are still at hand. We’re going to come ready to practice and get better for tomorrow.”
Banks said he doesn’t want his team getting complacent after taking possession of first place in the league.
“It’s going to take a team effort (to win the league),” Banks said. “I think if we do a team effort, we should be fine. When it comes down to regionals and everything, everybody is out to get you. Every team plays hard against us. No one sits back and gives us a break. Everybody wants to beat Canyon Springs because Canyon Springs has been on the map for a while.”