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Mighty Marsh Valley Vanquishes Vandals
Eagles defeat McCall-Donnelly in 3A state title game
Published: 3/6/2021 7:13:40 PM
Brandon Baney
Content Manager/Broadcaster
brandon@idahosports.com
 

ORDER GAME PHOTOS

In the spring of 2019, the Marsh Valley baseball team won it's first state championship in school history.

After winning the 2019 title, longtime Eagles baseball coach Kent Howell decided to add another challenge to his coaching career. 

The 2020-21 season was Howell's first as head boys' basketball coach at Marsh Valley, and almost like a Hollywood movie, Marsh Valley (22-6) won the 3A state championship over McCall-Donnelly 58-51.  

In a tightly contested game throughout, Marsh Valley made enough plays down the stretch to pull out the win.  The dagger came with 1:16 to play, when Payton Howe scored on a layup off of a sideline out-of-bounds play.  Howe's bucket put the Eagles ahead 52-45.

Marsh Valley also put the game to bed at the free throw line.  The Eagles made 12-of-13 from the charity stripe in the second half.

After the game, a hoarse Kent Howell described the win.

"The community wanted it, we (the coaches) wanted it, and the boys wanted it most," Howell said.  "The brotherhood that they've created, the memories, the relationships, it's about so much more than basketball.  These boys have grown so much.  It's going to help them for the rest of their lives.  It's just such a special bond."

The bond is especially tight for the Howell family.  Kent had two sons on this year's team (junior Karter Howell and sophomore Stanton Howell), as well as his cousin's son (senior Bracken Howell).  Bracken Howell was one of three seniors on this year's team, along with Cody Hansen and Caden Goodworth.

Hansen had been playing with a separated shoulder during the second half of the season, and gutted his way to 14 points and 6 rebounds.  Bracken Howell added 14 points in his final game for Marsh Valley.

Hansen said that a rigorous regular season and district tournament schedule helped prepare Marsh Valley for their championship run.

"We've had a lot of close games down the stretch," Hansen said.  "We were fortunate enough to have Snake River in our conference.  We played them five times, and four of the five games were tough games."

Facing strong competition all year taught Marsh Valley how to remain composed.  It came in handy when McCall-Donnelly jumped out to a 13-5 lead to start the game.

"Our coaches, it doesn't matter if we're down seven or up three, they're always telling us the same things," Hansen said.

McCall-Donnelly (11-3) had a nice showing in their first season back at the 3A level.  The Vandals had spent the past ten years competing as a 2A school, and didn't even begin their season until January 15th.  Saturday's championship loss was only McCall-Donnelly's 14th game of the season.

DJ Green led the Vandal attack with 21 points and 6 rebounds.  The Vandals are still searching for their first boys' basketball championship in school history.

As for Marsh Valley, they don't have much time to celebrate.  Because COVID-19 wiped out the spring sports schedule in 2020, Kent Howell has a state baseball title to defend.

 


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