DEEP RIVER >> There’s a different cast for the Valley Regional boys basketball team this season. The Warriors graduated six players, including four starters, from last year’s Class M and Shoreline Conference championship team.
But on opening night, it was business as usual again for Valley.
Junior forward Chris Jean-Pierre poured in a game-high 28 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and junior guard David Bradbury scored 22 points and had 10 rebounds as the Warriors defeated Hale-Ray, 73-50, Wednesday at Deep River.
Valley extended their state best winning streak to 23 games.
“Offensively we did some good things,” said Valley Regional coach Kevin Woods. “For the first night, you get the W, you put some points on the board and then you go back to the drawing board and work on what you need too.”
Senior guard Jason Traceski led Hale-Ray with 18 points, while Jimmy Lucido came off the bench and scored 12 points.
The Little Noises, who trailed 43-24 at halftime and as many as 22 points late in the third quarter, cut Valley’s lead to 57-47 with 5:23 left in the fourth quarter before the Warriors closed the game with a 16-3 run.
“I was proud of my kids,” said Hale-Ray coach Gary Marineau. “At halftime we said let’s try to win the second half. That was our goal. We did play very hard so we expended a lot of energy.”
Valley took control with a 20-3 spurt in the second quarter.
Jean-Pierre sparked the run by converting three conventional 3-point plays and scoring 11 points in a sensational one minute span. Brennan Joy (eight points) added a 3-point basket, while Bradbury, who finished with four 3-pointers, capped the run with a pair of free throws as Valley built a 39-22 lead with 2:08 left in the first half.
Jean-Pierre (six steals) also made some big baskets during a 16-1 run down the stretch.
“He’s a force,” said Woods. “We know how good he is and the rest of the league and the state will start taking notice of this guy. He’s just so good at getting to the rim and breaking the zone down.”
Zak Davidson and Craig Botteon each had five points for the Noises.
“Valley’s a good test for us,” said Marineau. “We need to rebound better. We were in this game. This game is not indicative of what the score was. I’m really excited about the rest of the season. I think we have a chance to do some good things.”