A-C Valley 3rd year head coach Tony McGarvey headed into the 2021-2022 campaign with a lot of anticipation and questions. Gaining experience and replacing the school’s all-time leading scorer Levi Orton (1701 points) was the focal point. With six seniors lost to graduation, McGarvey will look to reload and use a mix of players to gain experience and success.
The new look Falcons will feature a lot of size. 6-5’ sophomore, Jay Clover is the top returning point scorer from a year ago (5.1ppg). As a freshman, Clover saw some key minutes down the stretch last year and in the playoffs. To supplement Clover in the low block, McGarvey returns 6-4’, Jr., Alex Preston and 6-1", Jr. Landon Chalmers. Both of whom saw key minutes on the hardwood last year.
Pushing the ball up the court for the Falcons will 5-10", Jr. guard, Ryan Cooper and 5-10" So., Brody Dittman. With lack of experience, McGarvey is looking to rely heavily on his junior class to provide the necessary leadership, particularly with respect to Cooper and Preston. Lane Bauer and Seth Best both whom are juniors also look to see time on the court.
With a quick glance into the season’s progression, McGarvey’s young Falcons looked ready for the challenge. In their first five contests of the season, McGarvey’s squad posted a 4-1 record. After an opening season loss to District IX North East, the Falcons put a streak of four wins together with wins over Portersville Christian (68-44); East Forest (76-16); Cambridge Springs (64-51) and Venango Catholic (68-30).
Since starting 4-1, the Falcons have faced some adversity and close games. The Falcons currently are 5-6 overall and 2-3 in the KSAC North. The Falcons got back in the win column with a win against Cranberry 53-21 on January 13th. In that contest A-C Valley’s dominance underneath was too much for Cranberry. In the win Jr., Landon Chalmers recorded 12 points and 14 rebounds; Jr. Alex Preston netted 10 points to go along with 10 caroms and sophomore, Jay Clover recorded 12 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Jr., Ryan Cooper just missed double digits as he netted 9. The Falcons will host Cranberry again on Monday, January 17th.
Thus far this year the team is led offensively by So., Jay Clover (11.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg); Jr., Alex Preston (10.8 ppg, 6pg); Jr. Landon Chalmers (8.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg). From the guard position, Jr., Ryan Cooper is averaging (7.3 ppg, 3.0 asst.) and So., Brody Dittman with just under 7 ppg.
Finding a way to win the close games will be a key to the Falcon’s success. A-C Valley had the lead on Clarion-Limestone heading into the fourth quarter (43-41) but could not close out. The young Falcons are currently shooting 52% from the foul line and 27% beyond the arc. Both areas upon which they would like to improve, cutting down on the turnovers will also help. A-C Valley averages nearly 24 turnovers per game.
A-C Valley returns to action on January 19th against Redbank Valley who is a favorite to win the league.
The Falcons finished 7-2 last season in the KSAC North. “Our goal is to focus week to week and accumulate wins. We are looking to try and keep a winning record this year and hopefully return to the playoffs, stated coach Tony McGarvey.