Bulldog guard Zach Barnum #23 hits a short jumper for two of his game high 15 points during the Dawgs 58-52 loss to Del Sol. Photo by Lou Martin

Wednesday night’s match up between the Virgin Valley High School Bulldogs and Del Sol High School Dragons was equal to any championship boxing match as the teams battled evenly for four rounds before a winner stepped up. The Dragons held on to beat a feisty Bulldog squad 58-52. The Dragons had four players in double figures to one for the Dawgs. Zack Barnum led the Dawgs with 15 points followed by three Bulldogs with 7 points each. Cody Burnside had 7 rebounds and Andrew Memmott added 7 points and 6 boards before leaving the game with an ankle injury. A bloodied Keegan Biasi fought tooth and nail in a physical match up against the taller Dragon front line.

The Dawgs surprised the Dragons taking a 15-10 lead in the first period with a tenacious zone defense frustrating the high scoring Dragon squad. Barnum and reserve Hogan Fowles hit three’s to spark the Dawg offense.

The Dawgs had their largest lead 17-10 early in the second period but couldn’t stop a 14-1 run by the Dragon’s and trailed 24-18. Numerous Bulldog turnovers led to a 26-26 tie at the break. Memmott had 5 points in the period to lead the Dawgs. “I had a good feeling about to night’s game, “said Bulldog Coach Sean FitzSimons. “A lot of our fans probably didn’t expect us to play as well because we were missing our top scorer and facing the 6-1 Dragons.”

The Dawgs ball handling problems continued early in the third period as the Dragons took advantage and led 41-32 with 3:47 remaining in the period before Biasi drove the middle for two points and Barnum hit for five points cutting the Dragons lead to four at 43-39. The Dragons hit two more with seconds remaining making the score 45-39 after three periods. Biasi and Barnum hit for 11 of the Bulldogs 13 points in the quarter.

The Dragons’ height advantage gave them numerous put backs against the smaller Dawgs and an early 50-42 lead. The Bulldogs answered with three balls from Fowles and Barnum to cut into the Dragons lead 53-52. A huge three from the Dragons deflated the Bulldog surge as they hit the last five points of the game for a 58-52 win. “A couple shots here and a rebound there would have made the difference,” added FitzSimons. “I told the kids we can win this as we had the momentum late but let the win slip by. I wanted this one bad, but we need to regroup for the ‘War’ at Moapa on Friday and Monday’s game at home against Sunrise Mountain. We need both games to insure a playoff spot.”

The loss dropped the Dawgs to 5-4 in Sunrise League play, one game up on Sunrise Mountain.