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Steel Valley boys impressive in loss to No. 1 EF

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The Steel Valley boys basketball team was not in our preseason rankings for Class AAA.
Whoops.
Hey, with so many teams, you can’t possibly see everyone, and preseason rankings are always a bit of a crapshoot: who’s coming back, who’s healthy, who’s grown, etc.
But after watching Steel Valley take top-ranked Elizabeth Forward to the wire, they are absolutely a team to keep an eye on in Class AAA.
One that should be ranked, too.
Warriors coach Gerald “Puddin” Grayson agreed.
“They are a tremendous team,” Grayson said after exhaling a few times following his team’s 69-64 overtime win. “I don’t know why they’re not ranked somewhere. Honest.
“A lot of people have missed the boat on them, and I knew that.”
My game story (http://triblive.com/sports/hssports/basketball/5239503-74/davidson-points-quarter#axzz2nNPQn4oy) focuses on JaQuan Davidson gutting out a wrist injury early to score a game-high 22 points.
It just as easily could have talked about Brandon Donovan’s 3-point shooting (five of ‘em, all in the first half) for Steel Valley.
Or Ajan Smith’s inside touch and tenacity underneath; he had 11 rebounds, part of a 35-27 overall edge for the Ironmen.
Smith is a 6-foot-4 guard, and he’s joined in the backcourt by 6-1 senior Dorian Broadwater, 6-1 junior Donovan and 5-10 senior Derek
Taylor.
Smith and Broadwater are returning starters, Smith scoring 18.1 points per game last season.
The four-guard lineup can be deceiving, though, because Smith can play underneath, and 6-6 junior center Dominique Keyes (14 points, 11 rebounds) was a monster down low while defending Elizabeth Forward’s 6-10 center George Prota.
This loss, as Steel Valley coach Shawn McCallister said, was not one to get all that upset over.
Proved a lot of things for Steel Valley, all of them good.
“I told our kids that I don’t want their heads down,” McCallister said. “I want them to feel the loss. I want them to remember the loss. I want to move forward through the section and take it one game at a time. But the effort that they gave tonight they need to give throughout the year.”
— Jason Mackey

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