Despite playing their best overall game of the season, the Virgin Valley High boys basketball team had a tough time matching up with the taller and athletic Chaparral High Tuesday, Feb. 6. in the Dawg House. The Dawgs fell to the 11-0 Cowboys, 65-52.
“I thought the kids played real well tonight,” said Bulldog coach Mark Barnum. “The only thing that could have come out better was a win. This game is what I felt our kids could have competed like all season. Even though our record doesn’t show it (5-21), I feel we had a successful season. I am, so proud of these boys as they never gave up.”
The Dawgs fell behind early, trailing the Cowboys 9-2 before going on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 9-8. Sophomore Riley Waite brought a huge roar from the Bulldog faithful hitting a three-ball at the first quarter buzzer to cut the lead to 14-12.
The Bulldogs fell behind by five points throughout the second period but would rally each time to keep the game close. Jayden Perkins scored the final four points of the period, two on a huge tip-in to end the half. Perkins had 7 points at the break followed by Waite with 5 points. The mid-game score found the Dogs trailing 28-24.
The Bulldogs finally took the lead 34-33 at 3:38 of the third period behind 4 points from Waite. The Dogs fell behind, 40-34, as the Cowboys height advantage gave them multiple attempts in the paint. A huge three-ball by Will Barnum at the buzzer was waived off to the dismay of the faithful which would have made the score 42-39 after three periods. The result gave the Cowboys a 42-36 lead going into the final period. The Cowboys, behind a three ball from Meshach Hawkins, went on a tear, upping their lead to double digits 50-49 halfway through the period.
Three-balls from Bulldogs Toone and Perkins kept the Dogs in the match until the Dogs were forced to foul leading to free throws for the Cowboys. The final score was not indicative of the effort from the Dawgs. On a negative side note, the Bulldogs loss, their 21 loss of the season was the largest in the history of the program. Like in all sports, wait till next year. The 1997-1998 squad, who went 9-20, came out the following year to finish 15-13.