Friday, Feb. 17, 2012 | 12:10 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer discuss the high school basketball playoffs, disagreeing on both brackets. Case likes Canyon Springs to win the Sunrise Regional; Ray think they lose in the first round.
The Green Valley High basketball team won this game because of its post players.
Forward Devan Kohn scored 34 points and grabbed 17 rebounds Thursday, and center Brandon Hoisington had 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting in leading the Gators to a 72-54 victory against Valley in the Sunrise Regional semifinals at Foothill.
Valley, the Northeast Division champions and the tournament’s top-seeded team, was supposed to control the inside with 6-foot-6 post player Caleb Carter, who is one of the region’s elite players.
But Kohn and Hoisington were physical in defending Carter all night, limiting the senior to six points on 1-of-9 shooting and seven rebounds in the upset. Green Valley plays Foothill at 7 p.m. Friday in the championship game.
“When you play a kid like that, he wants to beat up on you, so you have to beat him to the punch,” Green Valley coach Lorenzo Jarvis said. “He is used to people backing down to him. Today, we stood up to him to fight.”
Valley’s Daniel Young had six points in the opening four minutes to help the Vikings jump out to a quick 12-4 lead. But Kohn eventually took over, recording a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds in the first half to give Green Valley a two-point halftime lead.
Carter was 0-for-7 in the first half, including rimming-out a one-handed dunk attempt after the 6-foot-5 Hoisington challenged him at the rim.
“We know we don’t have as much size as the other teams,” Hoisington said. “We really like playing more physical than (other teams), and that’s what worked for us tonight.”
The Gators never backed down in thriving in their role as the underdog team, stretching their lead to six points after the third quarter and eventually leading by double digits for most of the fourth. Valley rotated several defenders on Kohn, but the 6-foot-4 senior couldn’t be stopped.
“I just knew they couldn’t stop me,” Kohn said. “I listened to my coach and did the moves he taught me.”
Valley outscored Green Valley 22-10 in the fourth quarter, grabbing much-needed momentum for Friday’s championship game against Southeast Division foe Foothill, which is a perennial power in the Henderson-based league.
Valley was supposed to be too much for Green Valley, too. But Green Valley made 16-of-27 shots in the second half for a 59.3-percent shooting percentage, while Valley only made 37-percent of its shots.
“The kids came out and played hard like we have been talking about all year long,” Jarvis said. “We played the way we know how to play. We left it on the court tonight. We didn’t want to leave anything to chance.”
Green Valley wasn’t expected to challenge for the regional title this year but has been proving doubters wrong all season. Led by DePaul-commit Durrell McDonald, the Gators finished in a four-way tie for first place in the Southeast with an 11-3 record.
“We are the underdogs, and that is what makes us good,” Kohn said. “People look at us and think they will beat us and blow us out. But they don’t. We keep doing that to them.”
And while most of his players don’t have the big-game experience, Jarvis won’t be in unfamiliar territory during the title game. He coached Green Valley’s girls team to the regional title two years ago.
“I know how it feels to win one of those. Hopefully, I get the same feeling tomorrow” Jarvis said.