6’5” center Cody Burnside #34 will need to up his 4.5 p.p.g. scoring average if the Bulldogs hope to get back to the playoffs in 2015. Photo by Lou Martin

The Virgin Valley High School boy basketball team hosts the Crusaders from Faith Lutheran High School on December 2 in the season opener for the Dawgs. The Dawgs and the Crusaders have lost most of their firepower from last year’s squads and will be starting newcomers at most positions.

The Crusaders went 13-15 in 2014, but still qualified for tourney play with a 5-5 record in 1-A Sunset Conference play. Coach Brett Walter will be counting on returnees John Molchon and Blake Bell. Mulchon stands 6’6” and at 265 lbs. is a huge force in the middle. Junior Bell 6’1” will use his height at point guard to pull down rebounds in the paint. The Crusaders can also field 6’7” Bryce Neagle and 6’6” Zach Friel to create an imposing front line.

The Bulldogs lost last year’s match up 53-52 with all points coming from departed seniors. The Dawgs went 15-11 last season overall but nailed down the second seed in 1-A Sunrise play with a 9-3 record. Seniors Cody Burnside and Keegan Biasi will need to press the Crusaders big men underneath if the Bulldogs hope to win. Newcomers Zach Barnum, Cody Bishop, Quinton Smith and sophomores Garret Tietjen, Hogan Fowles and Andrew Memmott will need to grow up quickly.