Virgin Valley’s Jessie Barnum scores a layup early in the game and got off the biggest shot of her high school career for two points giving the Dawgs a 51-50 win over Cheyenne.
Photo by Lou Martin

The Virgin Valley High girls basketball team had to overcome its own mistakes and an injury to high scorer Alexis Boatright to pull out an exciting 51-50 win over the Cheyenne Tuesday night in the Dog House.

Both teams came out tentative in the first period looking for each other’s weak side. The Desert Shields man press forced the Dogs into nine turnovers in the first half of play. The Dawgs took an early lead 6-2 behind point guard Nathalie Lagamayo’s four points. Two three balls from Cheyenne tied the game 10-10 after one quarter.

Early second period mistakes by the Bulldogs gave the Shields a quick 19-13 advantage before Boatright hit two quick three-pointers to give the Dawgs a 25-24 lead at the break. Boatright led the Dawgs with 11 points. The Desert Shields stayed close behind five three-pointers in the first half of play.

The Bulldogs began second half play with poor ball handling and fell behind 35-28. A basket underneath by Taylor Barnum, sandwiched by two baskets from Boatright, ended the third period with the Dawgs trailing 38-35. The Dawgs only went 4-9 from the free throw line in the period.

Boatright’s jumper cut the Shields lead to 38-37 early in the fourth period. The Dawgs suffered a major blow with 6:09 remaining in the game went Boatright slumped to the floor with an ankle injury. The game stopped as Boatright was carried off the floor by the trainer and a Bulldog player. Boatright had 17 points up to this point in the game.

Poor play again hampered the Dawgs as they fell behind 44-39. Three free throws and a big shot from Savannah Price tied the game 44-44 before a bad pass gave the Shields back the lead 46-44. Lagamayo’s free throw and another basket from Price pulled the Dogs up 47-46.

The Shields countered with two free throws to regain the lead 48-47. Lagamayo brought the Bulldog faithful to their feet on an amazing shot in the paint and was fouled in the process. The free throw was missed and the game continued with the Dawgs up 49-48. The Shields did not hesitate on the inbounds pass racing to a basket to regain the lead once again 50-49.

Bulldog coach Chimane Creer called time with 26.4 seconds remaining in the game. The Desert Shields were called for travelling, giving the ball back to the Bulldogs. Lagamayo drove the length of the court and put up an awkward shot in the paint that was rebounded by teammate Jessee Barnum who put it in giving the Dawgs a 51-50 advantage with 16.8 seconds remaining in the game.

The Shields coach did not call time as his young charges raced down the court but mishandled the ball as Lagamayo and Taylor Barnum battled for the loose ball as time ran out. Despite more than 20 turnovers and losing their game leading scorer, the Lady Dawgs battled adversity to advance to the 3A Conference semi-finals on Thursday against Chaparral, which upset Sunset League champion Pahrump Valley 46-43.

Boatright ended the game with 17 points followed by Lagamayo with 11 points. The Dawgs will tip off against the Cowboys at Del Sol High School gym at 2 p’m. The Bulldogs easily beat the Cowboys twice during the regular season but possibly without Boatright, who was being evaluated Wednesday it could get interesting.

The Dawgs will need to limit their turnovers and cut down on missed free throws to garner the win. The Dawgs went 7-15 from the line.