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Steel Valley boys impressive in loss to No. 1 EF


The Steel Valley boys basketball team was not in our preseason rankings for Class AAA.
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 ( 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
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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