On the weekend of November 19-20, Valley High School held its annual Buffalo Stampede Basketball Tournament under the expert direction of Athletic Director, Ferril Heaton. Competitors were composed of three out-of-Region 1A teams (Valley, Wendover and Tintic), and one 2A (Kanab), including both varsity and JV squads. [1A represents small rural communities, while 2A is indicative of somewhat larger population towns.]

In Friday’s opening day JV games, the host Valley Buffalos bettered the Tintic Miners 61-44, and the Cowboys of Kanab beat the Wendover Wildcats, catering to a Championship match Saturday at 1:30. In the evening’s varsity contests, the results were similar in that Valley took Tintic, 57-51, and Kanab whipped Wendover, 73-41, to set up their 4:30 showdown.

Consolation contests prior to each category determined that Wendover was third-place and Tintic fourth with respective scores of 71-44 (JV) and 52-47 (varsity).

In the All-Kane County Championship rounds, the JV Cowboys narrowly, by a trey, tamed the Buffalos, 52-48, paced by Travis Stewart’s 13, Griffen Bone’s 12, Waylon White’s eight and Kale Glover’s six. In the loss, Cooper Chamberlain drained 22, Warren Spencer nine and Jase Cox eight.

The main event witnessed the Cowboys corralling of the Buffalos, 45-38, behind the Kason Janes 14, Ashten Grymes 12, Waylon White eight and Jordan Cornell’s seven. In valiant defeat the sole scorers were MaCoy Harris with 21, Layton Spencer 15 and Tait Bettridge’s deuce.

With the victory, Kanab head coach Jerron Glazier noted, “We won; I guess it’s always worse, if you lose. Valley’s a tough opponent. They play that match-up zone. It made it tough for us to gain any sort of momentum ... any sort of flow. They have some great players! And we had a couple of guys step up. So, happy to win.”

JV and assistant Varsity coach Bucky Orton added, “Well, I was proud of our resiliency. We got some good looks there in the fourth-quarter. Weren’t able to finish; and then Valley got hot, which is going to happen sooner or later. So, it was a great game. Obviously, went down to the wire. And I thought both teams played really hard. And we were fortunate to come out on top.”

Owen Hoyt, Valley’s varsity coach circumspectly observes, “We’ve had one win and two losses; and both were fairly close games. They’re competing hard; and they’re starting to play good defense. We held Kanab to 45 points, which I think is a well-talented team. Where we’ve struggled is offensively, finding ways to score, taking good shots and not turning the ball over. And those are things I think these kids will learn over time on how to handle the ball better with some experience.

“But definitely, offensively we’re a work-in-progress. We’re hoping to get better every game. And by the end of the season we’ve got a pretty good team put together, and we can make a run for it. But right now, we’re not where we want to be.”

Summing things up, JV and assistant varsity coach Jake Millard says, “You know, for the start of the season, this is an important learning time for our team, where we’re trying to figure out our roles ... our team identity. Where we’re going in a defensive direction or an offensive direction.

“So, I think, we were actually able to see some new things from our team that we haven’t seen in our first two teams we were able to play. But, definitely still trying to put things together for a holistic identity that will carry us through to the remainder of the season.”

In these, the nascent days of a new campaign, it’ll be exciting to see how everything develops.