It was a game of two half’s Friday night in the Pirate’s den as archrivals Virgin Valley and Moapa Valley faced off in the first of two 3A Sunrise League games this season. The visiting VVHS Bulldogs jumped off to a quick 8-0 lead in the first period behind the shooting of Chris Leavitt and Braden Bingham. The MVHS Pirates recovered to slow down the Bulldogs cutting the lead to 10-5 at the end of one period of play. Leavitt and Bingham led the Dawgs with 4 points. The Bulldogs continued to pressure the Pirates throughout the second period behind steals and buckets from Koden Tietjen and Will Barnum. Barnum kept the Dawgs on top hitting a long three-ball as time expired giving the Bulldogs a 24-17 at the break. Center Cameron Reese found the basket hitting two long three’s for the Pirates.
The Bulldogs began the second half of play uncontrolled as they committed three turnovers to let the Pirates back into the game. The Pirates went on a 10 point run to take a 27-24 lead before Bulldog coach Mark Barnum stopped the bleeding with a timeout. The Pirates kept the Dawgs at bay with four three pointers in the third period. Bulldog guard Bingham had 7 points and Koden Tietjen hit a buzzer beater to make the score 44-40 in favor of the host Pirates going into the fourth and final period. The Pirates were led by sharp shooting Lucas Walker and Reese who outscored the Dawgs 27-16 in the period. Bingham hit a huge three followed by two free throws from Tietjen cutting the Pirates lead to 46-45. Free throws and three-balls kept the Pirates in the lead midway through the final period as they led 59-50. The Pirates took advantage of Bulldog fouls hitting 16 of 22 attempts while the Bulldogs managed only 4 attempts from the line hitting three. The Pirates Walker hit their only baskets in the period, both three-balls, and added 11 free throws to lead all scorers with 38 points. Reese finished with 15 points, all from three point range as they led the Pirates to a 67-62 victory. Bingham finished with 20 points followed by Barnum with 15 points. “Moapa came out in the third quarter with more intensity and we didn’t match that until they were up on us,” said Bulldog coach Barnum. “Then they spread us out and gave the ball to Walker. We fought hard but couldn’t overcome the slow start to begin the third quarter. Our kids played hard for the majority of the game. I’m proud of the way they battled.”