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Buffalo Gals almost cage the Thunderbirds before settling the Moquis

On Thursday, February 1, the Piute Thunderbirds flew to the Valley environs for what became a heartbreaker for the home team. Following a promising 10-4 first frame Buffalos lead into a 22-17 halftime, they succumbed to a 21-point third-stanza T-bird taloning into a 38-34 deficit.

Left to right, photos by Jerry Melrose:

  • Andee Anderson, finishing her fast-break toward the bucket trailed by Maddie Cox and Piute’s airborne Amy Morgan to knot the score at 38 with 3:50 left in the fourth quarter to the apprehensive delight of their fans in the stands.

  • Valley’s honored graduates-to-be on Senior Night. They are (left): Kimber Reeve with parents Bert and DeAnna, alongside Lydia Cox accompanied by her folks Letitia and Doug. Hearty congratulations to all!

Then, after tying at 38 with 3:50 to go in the fourth, the Buffs incrementally notched it up 40-38, 42-40, to 44-43 at 1:50 on the clock until the Birds bled it away 44-45 at 1:38 from that climaxing series of last-minute seesaw no-holds-barred battle exchanges into the crowd-hollering, 46-44, Piute prize.

In the loss, Kimber Reeve contributed 14 scores on four deuces, no treys, and of her 11 free-throw attempts, made six [4-0-11-6]. Andee Anderson added 10 [5-0-2-0], Rachel Cox racked nine [3- 1-2-0], Maddie Cox made seven [1-1-4-2], along with a pair each by Lydia Cox [0-0-4-2] and Jane Jennings [1- 0-2-0].

The next day in another of consecutive Varsity-Only 6 p.m. meetings, they engaged the Escalante Moquis with much more comforting (for the Buffalos!) results: 50-19. The Senior Night assemblage witnessed Kimber’s 13 [4-0-5-5], Rachel’s [2-2-1-0] and Andee’s [5-0-1-0] 10 apiece, accompanying Maddie’s five [1-1-0-0] and Lydia’s three [0-1-0-0] to go along with a brigade of fourth-quarter two-point bench-clearing commandos: Tess and Teagan Roundy, Emma Cox and Jane, as well as McKaydee Bauer’s single.

Bypassing the still stinging Piute stain, Coach Dustin Cox turned his attention more toward the evening’s honorees. “The needle’s moving the right direction. We’re simmering at about 210-degrees, 211-degrees. We just need to get to the boiling point. You know, it is a team effort. But, tonight’s about Lydia and Kimber. You know, Senior Night, last home game. Four years is a long time! And, it’s tender to be able to be with them, and to coach them, and have them fight and work for us. And so, it’s good.

“But, yeah, they pulled-off the win! And then, of course, the fans, and the family, and the Student Body! And then, Lyd and Kim and the other starters, cheering for the freshman and the bench that’re in there, when Teag comes in, and Kaydee comes in, and just plays tough. So, that’s why we love it! That’s why we get up at 4:30 some days, and stay late other days. That’s why we do it!”

Of her current season her teammates, Kimber relates, “Yeah, it was amazing! I was glad that our team worked really hard on defense. But, like, compared to the first of the season we were pretty, like, focusing again on our defense and stuff. But now, we’re pretty indestructible and we’re getting so much better on defense. And, I’m so proud of our team for working their heart out. I’m so proud I’ll never be on another team besides this one, because this team is so amazing. I love them so much!”

Says Lydia of her career: “I’m super-glad that I played the last four years. And I’m super- grateful for my coaches, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! I love my teammates, and I love the memories I’ve made in this gym, and the swag, and its determination. I feel like I’ve made some of the most valuable lessons here. So, it’ll be sad to go.”

One game left on the regular schedule with Milford on Wednesday, February 7. From there, it’s on to Region at Panguitch on February 14, 16 and 17. The first round of the State Tournament begins at the home sites on Saturday, February 24. The State Tournament will be holding forth between February 28 and March 2, at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.




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