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Maple Valley uses quick start, strong defense to advance to Region 1 semifinals

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WAHPETON, N.D.—Maple Valley senior guard Hunter Smith scored a game-high 21 points Tuesday night at Ed Werre Arena, but he wanted to talk defense after the game.

"Everything starts with our defense," Smith said.

The Raiders limited Lisbon to 38-percent shooting from the field to earn a 50-40 victory in the North Dakota Class B Region 1 quarterfinals.

Maple Valley (17-4 ) never trailed and built a double-digit lead less than five minutes into the game.

"We always stress that we want to get off to a fast start and I think it started with our defensive intensity and effort," Maple Valley head coach Jay Kocka said. "It's very important playing from ahead, especially this time of year."

Maple Valley advanced to the region semifinals. The Raiders will play Wyndmere-Lidgerwood at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The Warbirds defeated Maple Valley twice during the regular season.

"This gives us momentum going into Thursday and it gives us an opportunity," Kocka said.

Lisbon cut the Maple Valley lead to 40-34 after junior Chase Johnson sank a 3-pointer with 3 minutes, 43 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. Smith, however, countered with the next four points to slow the Lisbon charge. His 3-point play gave Maple Valley a 43-34 lead with 3:04 to play. The 6-foot-1 Smith added a free throw that gave his team a 44-34 lead less than a minute later.

"We want the ball in Hunter's hands at that point of the game and we want him shooting free throws and we want him making the decision when the shot clock is under 12," Kocka said.

Maple Valley senior Arthur Punton added two foul shots to cap the 6-0 run that gave the Raiders a 46-34 edge with 1:00 remaining.

"It was nerve wracking," Kocka said of protecting the lead.

Maple Valley scored the game's first 11 points, forcing Lisbon to play catch-up from there. The 6-foot-2 Punton fueled that surge, scoring seven points in that opening sequence. He capped the rally with a layup that gave the Raiders an 11-0 lead with 3:26 to play in the first quarter.

Maple Valley took a 29-18 lead into halftime. Smith led the way, scoring 11 points in the opening 16 minutes.

"Our defense it what pushed us at the start," Smith said. "Our defense leads to offense."

Lisbon 8 18 25 40

Maple Valley 14 29 35 50

LISBON (7-15): Oland 3 0-0 8, Scott 1 0-0 3, Runck 5 4-5 15, Parrow 1 2-2 4, Johnson 3 0-0 8, Holmstrom 1 0-1 2. Totals: 14-41 6-8 40.

MV (17-4): Hovelson 0 0-0 0, Pierce 2 0-0 5, Adam Punton 0 0-0 0, Arthur Punton 4 5-6 13, Johnson 3 2-2 8, Smith 6 7-8 21, Combs 0 0-0 0, Drogen 0 0-0 0, Kasowski 1 0-0 2, Karges 0 0-0 0, Killoran 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-44 14-16 50.

3-point goals: Oland 2, Scott, Runck, Johnson 2, Pierce 2, Smith 2. Total fouls: L 17, MV 12. Fouled out: Parrow. Rebounds: L 24 (Runck 7), MV 35 (Arthur Punton 8, Smith 7). Assists:L 5 (Oland 3), MV 7 (Johnson 2). Turnovers: L 10, MV 10.

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