It took all 32 minutes of play to determine the winner of the Virgin Valley High School Boys basketball game against Moapa Valley High School Saturday evening at Moapa. Bulldog forward Tyson Teerlink got off his winning basket with one second remaining on the clock to give the Dawgs a 45-42 win, over their archrival Pirates. There was silence in the gym as Teerlink went up for his shot, then bedlam erupted from the Bulldog faithful as Teerlink hit nothing but net. “It opened up and I knew I had to take it. I felt it was going in, “said Teerlink.
The game started slowly for the visiting Bulldogs as the Pirates jump ball play was successful for a 2-0 lead. Garrett Leavitt got the Dawgs on the board with a free throw followed by a steal and basket by point guard Trevor Robison to give the Bulldogs their first lead until late in the third period. Teerlink hit a long bomb to tie the game at 7-7 before the Pirates took over and led 10-7 after one period.
The Pirates scored first to begin the second period but the Dawgs countered with two of their own on a sweet pass from Dee Bowler to Teerlink. The Pirates ran off 9 straight points to move in front 21-11. Teerlink hit another three to cut the lead to 21-14. Lavonte Milligan added a two and Leavitt followed with a three point shot, his one and only basket of the game. The Pirates lead was now only four points 23-19 after one half of play. The Dawgs committed seven turnovers in the first and were lucky to be only down by four.
The Pirates, bolstered by their ardent fans, came out of the break with confidence and hit for three points to increase their lead to 26-19. Robison countered for the Dawgs hitting Bowler on a perfect pass for two followed by a steal for two of his own to cut the Pirates lead to 26-23. Bowler was fouled underneath and hit both free throws followed by five quick points from Teerlink to give the Dawgs a 30-26 lead. Milligan’s steal and pass to Bowler set up a layup from Cristian Aguirreto give the Dawgs their largest lead of the game 32-26. The Bulldogs man defense held the Pirates to three points in the period and ran off 13 unanswered points. The Pirates committed five straight turnovers but the Dawgs did not score any points off them.
The Bulldogs went into a zone defense to begin the last period. The Bulldogs managed only two free throws and committed two straight turnovers before Coach Sean FitzSimons called a timeout to settle his troops with 4:56 minutes remaining and the score 36-34. Leavitt hit Milligan underneath for two quick points and Tanner Kilmer followed with two with an assist to Bowler. The score stood at 40-36 before a six point run by the Pirates gave them the lead at 42-40 as their fans screamed in delight. A shot by the Pirates rimmed out giving the Dawgs an opportunity to tie or take the lead. Bowler was fouled in the paint and hit two clutch free throws to tie the game at 42-42 with 1:12 minutes remaining. The Pirates committed a turnover giving the Bulldogs an opportunity to win in regulation. Coach FitzSimons called time with 21 seconds remaining in the game to set up a last shot for a win. A tight Pirate defense caused the Dawgs to stop the clock again with 6.9 seconds remaining. Two Pirates were all over Teerlink when he got the shot off. The rest is history as the Bulldogs surrounded a smiling and happy Teerlink. Teerlink led all scorers with 17 points including four from the three point line. Bowler had eight points followed by six from Milligan. “We expected a dog fight but I didn’t expect us to not take care of the ball,” said coach FitzSimons. “I was proud of our maturity at the end. We kept our cool and I knew the worst scenario would be overtime. We just couldn’t find our rhythm but we’ll take.” The Bulldogs record now stands at 8-4 and 3-0 in league play.
The Bulldogs next home game will be January 5 against Pine View.