STAFFORD TOWNSHIP — The Pleasantville High School boys basketball team rallied from a 12-point deficit to beat Holy Spirit 73-66 on Friday in the third-place game at the Score at the Shore Tournament at Southern Regional.

Pleasantville upped its season record to 4-1, while the Spartans fell to 4-3.

The Greyhounds took command in the second half as Holy Spirit went cold from the field.

Jacob Valeus, a 6-foot-5 junior forward, led Pleasantville with 24 points, including 12 in the second half, and 10 rebounds. Sahmir Jones, a 6-foot-2 junior point guard, added 17 points and five assists. Mike Wilson contributed 14 points, including seven in the fourth quarter, and Divine Anderson finished with 12 points, including eight in the second half.

Valeus tied the game at 50-50 with a drive that ended the third quarter, and Pleasantville outscored the Spartans 23-16 in the fourth quarter.

“I just think our timing was off in the first half, but we got it back in the third quarter,” Pleasantville coach Butch Warner said. “We’ve been in a little slump lately. But we played well in our defensive rotation in the second half and had good ball distribution. The comeback shows that the team can handle adversity and come back stronger. We’ll have that to build on going forward.”

The game seemed to be slipping away from Pleasantville as it trailed 32-20 and 34-22 with under three minutes left in the first half. Spirit’s Reece Miller, a 5-11 senior guard, scored 13 of his 21 points in the first half. Sam Lamonaca added 16 points for the Spartans, including eight in the fourth quarter. Drew Gallagher had 11 points and Joe Glenn eight.

Pleasantville’s rally began with a half-minute left in the first half as Valeus hit a 3-pointer at the right baseline and Anderson beat the halftime buzzer with a drive to cut the Holy Spirit lead to 36-30.

The Greyhounds completed a 10-0 run by scoring the first five points of the second half. Anderson hit a baseline drive and made one of two from the line, and Jones added a field goal to make it 36-35 Holy Spirit.

“When you have adversity, you just have to play through it,” said Jones, a 16-year-old Pleasantville resident. “We communicated better in the second half and kept our heads.”

Holy Spirit kept a slight lead throughout the third quarter until two foul shots and a layup by Valeus tied it after 24 minutes.

Valeus gave Pleasantville its first lead of the game at 52-50 with a jumper in the lane to start the fourth quarter.

The Spartans’ Miller tied it with a field goal, but Wilson scored five points and Jones two in a 7-0 mini-run and the Greyhounds were up to stay at 59-52.

“We didn’t want to lose, so we came out stronger on defense in the second half,” said Jones, a 16-year-old Pleasantville resident. “That’s what turned the game for us, and our shots started falling for us. We wanted to keep our heads up and play hard. It was a great win, and we’ll play them again at Holy Spirit (on Jan. 7 at the Seagull Classic). That will be a great game.”

Pleasantville 15 15 20 23—73

Holy Spirit 18 18 14 16—66

P—Growalt 2, Vaughn 2, Jones 17, J. Valeus 24, Anderson 12, Akpen 2, Wilson 14.

HS—Gallagher 11, Miller 21, S. Lamonaca 16, J. Lamonaca 4, Glenn 8, Marczyk 4, Kalinowski 2.

3-pointers—Wilson (3), Jones, J. Valeus, Anderson P. Gallagher, Miller, S. Lamonaca HS.

Records—P 4-1; HS 4-3.

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I’ve been at The Press since January of 1983. I cover all sports in general, but mostly lifeguard racing, and high school field hockey, football, swimming, basketball, crew, baseball and softball.

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