Basketball season began on the hill last Saturday morning as the Virgin Valley High School Bulldogs held tryouts. Approximately 50 prospective players went through workouts in hope of making rosters for freshman, J.V. and varsity squads. The Dawgs are coming off a horrendous 2017-2018 season when they went 2-10 in 3A Sunrise League play and 5-21 overall. Coach Mark Barnum is hoping for better things to come as his young charges return to the hardwood. “Our kids are a year older and have a year’s worth of varsity ball under their belts”, said Barnum. “We may have kids moving up and down from frosh, J.V. and varsity ball. We will be working with the kids to move without the ball opening opportunities on offense.”

The Bulldogs return guards Will Barnum, Meb Hollingshead, Koden Tietjen, forwards Daxon Toone, Jaden Memmott, Riley Waite centers Keith Rushton and Alejandro Mejia from last year’s team. “We will get some help from our new younger kids including two exchange students,” added Coach Barnum.

Last year’s Sunrise League champ Chaparral (11-1) should be strong again despite losing their leading scorer. Boulder City (10-2) will put on the floor three 6’5” players including top scorers Derrick Thomas and Carson Bailey. Moapa Valley returns much of last year’s team and could compete for a playoff spot. Despite Desert Pines move up to 4A ball, the Sunset League should be the class of 3A play. 2A State Champion Democracy Prep has been moved up from 2A to 3A after dominating the conference 16-0 and 15-1 the past two seasons including wins over 4A squads. The Blue Knights are led by Najeed Muhammed (19.1 ppg ) and Daniel Plumer ( 14.1 ppg ). Muhammed shot a remarkable 58 % from 3 point range last season. Cheyenne, the only 3A team to defeat Democracy Prep last year should contend as they return Ke’Shawn Hall 3A Southern Conference CO-MVP last season. The Desert Shields lost to Desert Pines in the State finals the past two seasons.

However way it goes it should be another entertaining year for high school basketball. The Bulldogs open the season at Mojave on November 27 and open home play against Del Sol on December 4 before hosting their annual BIT on Dec. 6-8.