The start couldn’t have been much worse for Valley Regional, losing its first three and four of its first five games, all in the Shoreline Conference.
“One or two more losses and we could have been done,” Valley Regional coach Kevin Woods said.
The Warriors have won 10 of 11 since to remain in contention for the Shoreline championship. All but one have been by double digits.
“Our defense has been better. We were giving up way too many points,” Woods said. “There was a lot of frustration internally. We haven’t been the Valley of old the last couple years.”
Valley has won two state championship and been to two other finals in this decade. The Warriors should be a state title contender in Division 4. If that does happen, count on their big men to be a big part of that success.
Mitch Holdmeyer has had a double-double in almost every game during this stretch, including 25 points and 14 rebounds in Saturday’s win against Creed.
“Mitch was a JV player the last three years and now he’s an all-state player,” Woods said about Holdmeyer. “He’s grown into his body and stayed with it. A lot of kids would have hung it up without instant gratification, not getting varsity playing time by their sophomore or junior year.”
Teaming Holdmeyer with Ben Weinstein has given Valley Regional the best inside combination in the league, according to Woods — and a realistic shot of having a good postseason run.
“If we keep it up on the defensive end, we could get to the (Shoreline) final,” Woods said. “I like how we match up with (undefeated) East Hampton. I don’t think they match up with us size-wise.”
Woods, in year No. 9 at Valley, is part of a family coaching tree. Both his dad Steve and sister Caitlin coach girls teams in the Shoreline at Old Saybrook and Morgan, respectively. The two split the last two years.
“I stay away from that (when the two play each other),” Kevin said. “I would have a hard time figuring out where to sit in the gym. I root for both of them. It’s the game I least look forward to because it leads to 364 days of arguing.”