The Valley Buffaloes had their season come to an end a day earlier than they wanted, but they didn’t leave without putting up a fight. We are all proud of what they accomplished this season.

The boys started off with a play-in game at St. Joseph in Ogden. After a six-hour drive, Valley started out a little slow. The Buffaloes seemed to still have their minds on the bus as the Jayhawks sprinted out and took a 22-19 lead at the half.

But something changed when the Buffaloes came out of the locker room after halftime. The Valley players had a determined look that showed they were going to come out of this game with a win, no matter what. And win they did, as Valley shook off the first half jitters and erased the deficit to outscore St. Joseph 35-17 in the second half. This propelled the Buffaloes into the state tournament with a 54-39 victory over the Jayhawks.

Clay Williams was the deciding factor in Valley’s turn-around performance as he registered 27 points. Paul Kesling also helped Valley to victory with 10.

The Buffaloes, with the win, earned the right to face Tabiona in the first game of the 1A State Tournament. The game was just 16 hours after Valley defeated the Jayhawks.

The Buffaloes began this game in the same manner as they had versus St. Joseph. Tabiona took advantage of the reluctant play by Valley as they jumped out to an early 18-8 advantage. The Buffaloes picked up their defense in the second quarter, allowing the Tigers to score only three points. But, the Buffaloes still found themselves behind at the half, 21-14.

Again, Valley came out of the locker room with more determination. With the help of their stars, Clay Williams and Lance Maxwell, the Buffaloes staged a tough comeback. At the conclusion of the third, Valley had managed to cut the deficit to only one point, 30-29.

Valley had the momentum heading into the final quarter, but Tabiona’s Robbie Giles made sure this motivation changed to their side. Giles helped Tabiona rip off a 12-2 run to begin the fourth quarter, and the Tigers held on from there to get the first-round victory, 49-42.

Lance Maxwell dropped in 14 points to lead the Buffaloes and Clay Williams chipped in with 12. Tabiona’s Robbie Giles, Gerald Van Tassell and Dane Rhoades combined for 42 points to help drive the Tigers into the quarterfinals.

The loss sent the Buffaloes to the consolation bracket where the best place they could now get was sixth place. They faced the Wasatch Academy Tigers, a game seen to be as a tough match-up. Both teams started out very well on the offensive side of the floor. Lance Maxwell scored eight points in the first quarter to give Valley a slight 16-15 lead.

Clay Williams led the Buffaloes in the second quarter with five points and three assists. The Buffaloes outscored the Tigers 17-9 in the second to take a 33-24 halftime lead.

The third started off with a strong offensive play by Hayden Harris as he drove hard to the basket and laid it in to extend Valley’s lead to 35-24. Clay Williams again took off from there and scored seven points, including a three, to keep Valley ahead after three 48-38.

Williams was again the main factor in the fourth quarter scoring 10 points in the final eight minutes. With the help of his stellar play, the Buffaloes were able to outscore Wasatch Academy 24-16 and sprint to a 72-54 victory. The victory by the Buffaloes eliminated the Tigers from the tournament.

Williams poured in 22 points and seven assists, and Lance Maxwell added 19 points to lead the Buffaloes to the victory.

The win placed the Buffaloes up against the Duchesne Eagles. The winner of this game would advance to play for sixth place. Valley was hoping to get revenge from last year when the Eagles prevented Valley from reaching the championship game by hitting a three-pointer with three seconds remaining to defeat Valley by two points in the semis.

The Buffs again started off a little slow, but they stayed within striking distance of the Eagles. At the end of the first, Duchesne had a 12-7 advantage. Duchesne came out strong in the second and caught Valley by surprise. Valley played dead most of the quarter to hand Duchesne a 24-13 halftime lead.

The Buffaloes played slightly better out of the half, but their usual out-of-the-locker-room determination wasn’t quite there. Duchesne still held a comfortable lead by the end of the third, 32-20.

The Buffaloes finally buckled down and started to play at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Repetitive attacks to the hoop and tenacious defense paid off for the Buffaloes, as they came within three with about three minutes remaining in the game. The Eagles weren’t discouraged as they held off the attack when it counted and were able to propel to a 45-34 victory.

Duchesne gave Valley many chances to take over the game, especially when they converted on only 21 of 37 foul shots. Valley could not convert and their season came to an abrupt and disappointing end.

Juniors Hayden Harris and Lance Maxwell put in nine points apiece to lead the Buffaloes.

Duchesne went on to compete for sixth place, but was defeated by Whitehorse 60-49. Panguitch upended Liahona, 72-50, to capture fifth place. Rich made a ferocious comeback versus Monticello to take the victory, 64-61, and place third. Bryce Valley surprised everyone by upsetting the heavily favored T-Birds from Piute, 53-48, to take home their first state championship in the school’s history.

Valley had a team member receive the Academic All-State Award. Jason Bistline was among the few successful academic players who received this great award. Congrats Jason!

Even though the boys didn’t finish the season the way they wanted, the community is very proud of what they accomplished.

Panguitch citizen Danny Yardley, who broadcasts the Region 20 games of the state tournament over the radio, spoke about Valley High School during one of the Buffaloes’ games. It pretty much sums up the great program our school has and the fantastic players we have. Yardley praised our school for the sportsmanship we portray every year. He mentioned how the Valley players help the other players off the ground, how they show respect to the referees, that the fans are great supporters, and everyone just shows great sportsmanship. Thanks to all the students and fans who help make our school one of the best!

Again, congrats to the boys on a successful season.