THREE OAKS — The River Valley varsity boys basketball team had a hard time shaking Michigan Lutheran for most of the Jan. 11 Winterfest game.

A 9-0 finish by the Mustangs did the trick, however, and the home team emerged victorious 44-34.

“Give credit to Lutheran, they played a real nice game,” said River Valley coach Jason Heckathorn.

Early three-pointers by Matthew Schmidt and Jacob Barbour powered River Valley out to a 6-2 advantage, but the Titans proved resilient time and time again.

Cameron Guse’s bucket in the early going of the second period pulled Michigan Lutheran even at 11-11.

Tylar Montgomery answered with a three-pointer, and the Mustangs held on to a narrow lead until the leat-going of the first half when Matthew Willis converted his steal into a lay-up and Guse knocked down a shot to push the Titans on top 21-19.

Schmidt’s buzzer-beating “3” pulled River Valley even at 22-22 at half-time.

He hit two more from the three-point zone as the third quarter unfolded, opening up a bit of breathing room (30-25).

It didn’t last long. A Guse three-pointer and Jordan Ramirez’s hoop forged a 30-30 tie with a minute showing on the clock.

Schmidt again finished the scoring for the quarter by sinking a “3” — and the Mustangs led 33-30 heading into the fourth frame.

Guse had whittled the margin down to a single point (35-34) at the 5:04 mark with a pair of free throws and a jumper. But it was all River Valley after that.

Davyd Bronson scored through a foul with 2:34 left in regulation (a basket he later said “put the wind at the back” of the Mustangs), Barbour took advantage of an open lane to the basket 36 seconds later, and Lennon Lange converted a pass from Bronson into a lay-up at the 1:25 mark — a 6-0 run that opened up a 41-34 advantage.

“I didn’t drive all game, and then my coach told me ‘drive,’ and they gave me the open basket,” Barbour said.

The game’s final three points were scored at the foul line by Schmidt (he finished with a game-high 20). Barbour tallied 8 points while Lange scored 5.

Guse paced the Titans with 18 points.

New Buffalo 63, LMC 43

The New Buffalo High School varsity boys basketball team stayed unbeaten in the BCS White Division on Jan. 11 by routing LMC 63-43.

The Bison next faced a Jan. 15 showdown against the league’s other unbeaten squad — Howardsville Christian.

Brennan Grott led a balanced NB attack against the Lakers with 16 points. Kaden Parmley tallied 12, Ben O’Donnell scored 9 points, and Tucker Morse added 6.

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