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Buffalos split with Badgers as JVs finish strong and Varsity trips into Region Tournament

Thursday, February 8, had the Wayne Badgers from Bicknell visiting Valley for the regular season finale to accommodate a full-house of enthusiastic fans, as well as faraway friends and former players come to pay tribute to revered legendary Valley basketball, baseball and track Coach Jim Hoyt.



Left to right, photos by Jerry Melrose:

  • Valley Elementary choir with several Hoyt family members singing their school Fight Song paying tribute in honor of their patriarch, Jim.

  • Jim Hoyt, the Guest of Honor at the retirement of his jersey addressing the packed-house in front of a commemorative framed photo and proclamation. As he’s explaining: “It’s really been as somebody said to me once, “Well, it’s kind of a thankless job, isn’t it?” And I said, “You know, it really isn’t, because of being able to work well with all of these young people!” Like I say, hundreds of young men and young women, as far as coaching and also teaching, it’s just been a privilege getting to know all those kids here the past four decades.” Family members are (left-to-right): Harper Hoyt, Norah Hoyt, Emmett Hoyt, wife Jann Hoyt, Easton Syrett with his namesake son Jimmy, Luke Hoyt, Becca Hoyt, April and Owen Hoyt.

  • An appreciative audience on Senior Night honoring the accomplishments of graduates-to-be (left-to-right): Marshal Goulding, Johnny Cox, Preston Franklin and Ivan Spencer. Applauding along with them are parents Andrea and Lyle Goulding, Kelli and Kim Cox, Ciera and Brady Franklin and Gaylee and Clint Porter. Photos by Jerry Melrose.


After a comfortable 27-12 halftime lead the Buffalos JV squad rumbled to their 49- 33 victory. In the win, Holden Harris netted for 18 points on eight doubles, no triples and of his five free throw attempts made two [8-0-5-2]. His cousin, Hogan Harris, scored 10 [1-2-2-2], while Keenan Chamberlain contributed six, as did cousin to both, Payson Harris, with identical treys [0-2-0-0]. Conner Smith shot for three [1- 0-2-1]. Brothers Justin and Weston Baird each made a deuce [1-0-0-0], along with Holden’s elder brother Hadley.


In his appraisal of his team’s season swansong, Coach Jake Millard swooned, “Well, for the JV, we had a great game! I think it was our best game of the season. Everybody who got minutes put up a very high-IQ and high-efficiency performance, both in shooting and passing. So, I was really proud of our game holistically, both defense and offence. I believe it to be our best game of the season! Payson, a freshman, he stood out with his defensive effort and shooting. And then, thought Keenan gave us his best defensive effort this year in this game, in which both players stood out to me.”



Prior to the Varsity tip-off, a celebration ceremony of the praiseworthy athletic and academic career of Orderville born and raised Jim Hoyt. Following his playing days in baseball, basketball and track from 1969- 72, he attended SUU where he graduated with a teaching degree. He wed his lovely wife Jann in 1975 with whom they now have six married children, 29 grandchildren and three great ones.


Upon completion of his student teaching at Valley, he was offered a coaching and teaching position. Beginning in 1979-80, he coached until 2006-07. In 2013- 14, he returned to the head coaching position for two years before handing it off to his son Owen, while continuing as an assistant coach alongside his son Nick. Over the course of his exemplary career, he has coached all four of his sons, including three grandsons.


Sporting a lifetime win-loss record of 434- 284, he led Valley to three Region Championships, the first in school history in 1992- 93. Then again, back-to-back in his 22 and 23 seasons repeating in 2000-01 and 2001-02. He helmed the basketball team during three State Championships: 1980-81, 92-93, and 94- 95. In 2001, 2002 and 2006, his colleagues named him “1A Coach of the Year,” and in 2010 he was inducted into the Coaching Hall of Fame at Southern Utah University, his alma mater.

As for baseball, he brought home his school’s first-ever State Championship in 2001-02.


Subsequently, he served as an assistant-coach during two other championship campaigns: 2013-14 and 2017-18. He also coached track and field for several seasons.


Known affectionately as “Jimbo” to one and all, over the course of his dynamically good-natured mentoring career, he has influenced more than 390 youngsters within his fun-loving embrace in the spirit of encouragement and camaraderie as a vital part of the game. He has said, “Sportsmanship is always something that should be emphasized. I like to win, sure; but if you can’t have fun and do it correctly, it isn’t worth it.”


The Varsity contest concluded with a dramatic loss, in which after a manageable one-point first quarter lag at 14-13, increased to 29-22 at halftime. Then, behind a second half, 25-15, it slumped to its disappointing finish. Jace Cox paced all the scoring with 10 [3- 0-6-4], his non-relative teammate Johnny Cox [3-1-0-0] and Warren Spencer [3-0-4-3] adding nine apiece. Preston Franklin impressed four [2-0-1-0] and Ivan Spencer arrowed a deuce.


Coach Owen Hoyt opened his remarks pensively, “Kind of an emotional night honoring my father, Jim Hoyt. That was a cool experience. He gave a lot to Valley High School. And he taught and coached me in both baseball and basketball, and I was an assistant under him. That was a good time to learn how to be a coach. I’m still trying to figure some things out. But, he was a great mentor. He IS a great mentor to me, and I appreciate the time I spent with him.”


Then, on to the matter at hand, “Senior Night, big crowds. Wayne’s a tough team. They move the ball well, shoot the ball well [and] played good defense. And we came out sluggish, I thought. Offensively, we never got going. We shot 27 percent from the field; and one-for-10 from the three-point line will not get it done. As we get down, we start playing hero ball, and not moving the ball around. We gotta’ work on some things both offensively and defensively to be ready for the Region Tournament. I like this team! They work hard. They want to be a great basketball team, you know. And I know we can put it together and start playing some better basketball.”


Entering the Region Tournament in fourth place at 9-8 Overall and 3-6 Region, they’ll be bringing their all this week in Panguitch February 15 - 17.

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