PRINCETON — Bureau Valley’s Ryan Young summed his third quarter in Wednesday’s Class 2A Princeton Regional semifinal pretty easily.
“I was just on fire,” the Storm’s senior guard said. “Basketball is a game of runs and I was on my run.”
With Hall beginning to pull away in the start of the third quarter, Young hit back-to-back 3-point shots and later added a third — all within less than two minutes — to change the momentum of Wednesday’s game and propel the No. 3-seeded Storm to a 68-60 victory over the No. 2-seeded Red Devils.
“Obviously, we knew that (BV junior star) Parker (Neuhalfen) was going to score for them, but we didn’t want those other guys to go off for them,” Hall coach Mike Filippini said. “(Young) is probably what won them the game, especially in the second half when he had a bunch of 3s.”
Young’s first two 3-point shots in the third quarter erased a five-point Red Devil lead and gave BV a one-point cushion.
Following a Hall bucket to take a one-point lead, Young’s third 3 of the quarter gave the Storm the lead for good.
“(BV) coach (Jason) Marquis always tells us that basketball is just a game of runs,” Young said. “When they have a little run like (they had to start the third quarter), we can’t get down on ourselves and we can’t stop doing our game. We just had to stick to playing our game, our offense and our defense, and we did that.”
Despite taking the lead, the Storm were never able to fully deliver the knockout blow, but BV still controlled the contest in the second half and down the stretch.
In doing so, the Storm (20-11) reached the 20-plateau for the first time since 2008-09 and advanced to Friday’s 7 p.m. regional title game against top-seeded Seneca (23-5), which beat No. 4 Prophetstown 60-34 in Wednesday’s first semifinal.
After winning nine regionals in 10 years, BV is looking to claim its first regional since 2005.
“They are a good program and disciplined kids who are experienced,” Marquis said of Seneca. “They are a very good basketball program, but at the end of the day, it’ll come down to who executes better.”
On Wednesday, that was the Storm.
After a seesaw first half, the Red Devils took a 34-33 lead at intermission and pushed it to 38-33 with 6:24 left in the third quarter.
However, Young’s back-to-back 3-point shots sparked an 11-2 BV run that gave the Storm a 44-40 lead with 3:47 to play in the third quarter.
“Our kids didn’t get scared or down on themselves,” Marquis said. “They’ve been in that position before, fought back out and made some plays. I thought they executed well down the stretch.”
Hall pulled to within two points twice in the third quarter and to 52-50 with 6:09 remaining in the game, but the Red Devils were unable to finish their opportunities as BV pulled away in the game’s final five minutes.
“The bottom line is we didn’t shoot well enough to win,” said Filippini, whose team shot 21-for-53 (39.6 percent) in the game. “It stinks to lose when you don’t shoot well in your last game, but that’s what happened tonight.”
Neuhalfen finished with game highs of 22 points and seven rebounds for BV, while Young added 19 points and junior Josh Mead chipped in 13 points.
Three different Red Devils scored in double figures, led by 18 points from senior Austin Schmitt and 13 points from senior Miguel Villarreal.
Hall finishes the season at 17-11.
“These kids accomplished a lot this season,” Filippini said. “It stinks to lose, but at the beginning of the season there weren’t too many people who picked them to win the Colmone Classic or win 17 games, but to be 17-11 and finish in third-place in the conference, there’s a lot of things to be proud of this year.”
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.