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UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Moniteau Beats A-C Valley as Both Teams Look to Shore Up Foundation Early in Season

WEST SUNBURY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — A work in progress. 

That’s the fate facing both the Moniteau and A-C Valley boys basketball teams. 

Of course, it’s always good to win while ironing out those kinks early in a season and Moniteau was able to do that on its home floor on Wednesday night, holding off the Falcons for a 48-39 victory. 

(Pictured above, Moniteau guard Andrew Zepeda)

“Never gonna be upset with a win,” said Moniteau coach Mike Jewart. “A win is a win and, frankly, we saw growth in one area tonight. When we played Johnsonburg (in the opener on Friday), we weren’t attacking anything. We were settling for 3s. Tonight I thought we attacked.”

Sophomore point guard Andrew Zepeda was particularly aggressive in slashing to the rim. 

Zepeda finished with 13 points to lead the Warriors. 

He also shined on defense with several steals. 

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

“He can defend like no other,” Jewart said. “I thought he was really good getting into the paint. I thought he was good finishing through contact. He was very good tonight.”

Zepeda helped Moniteau (1-1) build a 14-5 lead after the first quarter. 

But A-C Valley wasn’t about to go down quietly. 

The Falcons rallied to draw to 20-17 at the half. 

“We knew they were gonna come out fast on their home floor and all we did was just keep telling them to weather the storm. I thought we did that; we brought it to within three at halftime,” said first-year A-C Valley coach Jess Quinn. “The boys never gave up.”

A-C Valley (1-2) committed 22 turnovers and also didn’t shoot well from the field or the free throw line. 

The Falcons made just four of their 16 foul shots. 

Still, A-C Valley was as close as 40-35 midway through the fourth quarter after falling behind by as many as 13 in the third before Moniteau made one final mini-run to put it out of reach. 

“Everything that happened tonight is correctable,” Quinn said. “If they would have given up, especially at the start of the second half when it started to turn bad for us, then I’d be worried. I’m not worried.”

Zahsheen Levins, a 6-foot-5 forward who moved into the district from Philadelphia, scored 13 points to lead A-C Valley. He also had seven rebounds and five blocked shots, some of them emphatic. 

With Levins and fellow big man Jay Clover inside, Quinn sees some vast potential this season for the Falcons. 

“With those two, we have to start turning those into points,” Quinn said. “To have 22 turnovers and not shoot well and still be in the game — I hope the boys believe they can do it because if we can fix one or two of those things, we can be right there.”

Moniteau also has some things to fix.

But the Warriors are deep and they have some big aspirations behind Zepeda, big man David Dessicino and shooting guard Chason Delarosa-Rugg, who is returning from a left knee injury suffered midway through last year.

Dessicino scored 11 points against A-C Valley and Delarosa-Rugg also chipped in 11 — nine coming in the fourth quarter to help the Warriors pull away for good.

“It’s really good we bounced back the way we did,” Zepeda said. “In the huddle during one of the timeouts, our coach gave us a good talk and gave us momentum going forward.”

Zepeda also gave a shoutout to the student section, decked out in all white and in full throat the entire game.

“The energy we have for our home games is the best,” he said.

Jewart is hoping to see more energy in practice.

The coach said Tuesday was not a good day in preparation for A-C Valley.

“I told them coming into today that that was the practice like we had last year,” Jewart said. “That’s a practice for a 12-10 team like we always are. Where we think we are, those practices can’t happen.”

Jewart said he saw some encouraging signs in the fourth quarter.

“I think we might have flipped a switch there and they started to understand,” he said. “Each game, the goal is to get better. The goal is not to be playing great right now, but playing great in February.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.