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Cowboys ride rough-shod through Valley’s annual Buffalo Stampede Tournament

The annual Buffalo Stampede season opener held forth once again during the weekend of November 17-18, with Varsity and JV invitees from Kanab, Colorado City and Escalante. The prequel event madly marches into a changing-of-the-guard for coaches to evaluate their growing new range of talent with an eye for the development of individual mentoring and selflessly-spirited teamwork motivation. Building a cohesive chemistry and culture of passionate confidence and courageous camaraderie is a noble campaign-long goal for competitive accomplishment. For their faithful fans, there’s an opportunity to vicariously share in the joys (and occasional sorrows) from the vigorous vitality of teenage tenacity.

Left to right, photos by Jerry Melrose:

  • Looking to receive a long down-court pass in the Championship game, high-flying junior Jace Cox spreads his wings above Cowboys’ junior James Quinn. The Valley lad scored seven based on one three-pointer, one deuce and two free throws.

  • Holden Harris, 6’3” freshman center, making one of his three-for-seven free-throws to match his 10 pairs from under-the-bucket for 23-points during the opening salvo of his notably promising career versus the El Capitan Eagles. In the JV Championship he netted seven points via three deuces and one-for-three from the charity-line. His third-quarter subbing entry into the Varsity Championship contest yielded another two points, totaling 32 for the tournament.

  • Cowboys’ junior Cash Mortensen crashing in for the lay-up during their Championship-winning, 54-45, triumph in Valley’s Buffalo Stampede. His five point contribution cashed-in one trey, one deuce and one-of-two free throws for a triple-single!

  • Freshman Easton Gilberg, Cowboys’ #5, in a battle of the cincos vs. Valley’s #5 Kennan Chamberlain in white. To his delight, and that of the Cowboys’ bench, he sinks a rolling rim-shot after being fouled. While the prior contact took precedence, he sank both free throws and his two-point total for the game.

The host JVs rumbled over the El Capitan Eagles from Colorado City, 51-33, at 2 p.m. on Friday, sending them to the next day’s Consolation Championship. Freshman 6’3” center Holden Harris set the pace with 23 scores, followed by a quartet of sophomores: Keenan Chamberlain contributing nine, Tay Young with six, Hogan Harris’s five and Conner Smith’s two. Fresh- men Payson Harris had four and Weston Baird, two.

That evening’s 5 p.m. Varsity clash caught the Eagles grounded by the Buffalos, 45-40. Johnny Cox (senior) led the winners with 15 points, followed by the junior triumvirate of Warren Spencer’s 13, along with Boede Cox’s eight and seven from Jace Cox. Tay Young added one more, as did Holden Harris in his Varsity debut.

Saturday morning’s JV round witnessed the Eagles earn third place above the Moquis, 46-30, before the Cowboys crushed the Buffs, 50-26, for the Championship. Aside from sophomore Brogan Virostko’s 20, Kanab freely nabbed their bench with an evenly distributed array of single digits from junior Trajen Glazier and sophomore Kyan Lyman’s fives, junior Troy Federkeil and sophomore Hayden Gubler’s foursome, junior Cooper Anderson’s lonesome three, along with deuces by junior Wyatt Orton and sophomore Braxton Button, including those of freshmen Walker Baird, Easton Gilberg and Brady Ramsey. Sophomores Levi Stewart and Kooper Swindlehurst, as well as freshman JW Reese had scoreless playing time. For Valley’s painful part, Holden Harris led with seven as Keenan Chamberlain and Tay Young made four each. Conner Smith, Hogan Harris and Weston Baird drained three apiece; junior Hadley Harris had two free-throws.

Following the tournament, JV Coach Jake Millard analyzed his team’s performance. “It’s good to see the new JV kids stepping-up and taking their roles. We’ve got a few good sophomore guards that need to learn how to lead a team, instead of taking a more passive role. They need to step-up and be leaders. So, we’re pretty excited to see what they’ll do. Had our first game yesterday and second game today, and plenty to work on and learn from, and see what they can do.”

With a hopeful eye on the future heading forward, he gushed, “Got an awesome freshman in Holden! Holden played awesome all weekend and has done a great job: Holden Harris! Now, we’re proud of him and his effort, that he came in as a freshman. Led our team, really, in scoring and rebounds. Just gotta get our sophomore guards to control turnovers. They gotta lead us: take care of the ball, and no more damn turnovers!”

In the 1:30 p.m. Varsity Championship match-up, the 2A (24- man roster) Cowboys corralled the 1A (15- man) Buffalos, 54-45, which has been the case in recent memory as each program crossed swords sharpening for their respective upcoming league seasons. Lagging behind by 16-points, 37- 21, entering halftime, the Buffs burst back to narrow the gap to nine toward the finish.

The youth-oriented Champs were treated to six continuous 3-pointers by sophomore Trey (living-up to his name!) Castagno for 18. Hot-hand junior point-guard Kale Glover scored eight, while a trio of other juniors shared-in with six each: Trajen Glazier, Cash Mortensen, and James Quinn, with sophomore Kyle Brown in the same mix. Senior Maddix Baird added his four, also.

For the second-place winners, a gifted trey-shooter in his own rite, Boede Cox, bombed in five for 15-points. Johnny Cox (no relation) jacked-in 11, Jace Cox (no relation to either) jazzed-in seven, senior Preston Franklin pressed-in five, Warren Spencer spied-in three and Holden Harris holed in two.

Owen Hoyt, Valley Head Coach, commenting on his team’s potential, observed, “Yeah, it’s a little bit of a young group. Let’s see, I think we only have one continuing starter from last year. So, we’re young, inexperienced; but these guys are fighters! And that’s what I’ve been preaching to them all year long so far: that we need to fight every possession. And, if we’re fighting on rebounds, and fighting on defense and some fighting to get some good shots, then we’ll be in every game.”

Of the Championship game, he noted, “The second quarter killed us against Kanab. Kanab’s a good team! They shot really well: had a buncha’ threes. But I thought the second half we fought pretty hard: kept ourselves in the game. It was pretty competitive. Overall, pretty happy with the kids’ performance. We’re looking at just constantly continuing to get better game-in and game-out. And by the end, we’ll be playing our best basketball. So, that’s where we’re at.”

“Well, we love coming up here and playing the Buffalo Stampede!” exclaimed Freshman and JV Coach Chad Castagno. “We had a heck of a time; had a lot of fun games. Just had two fun games today: JV and Varsity. Valley’s got a heck of a team. I’m excited that we made a few more shots than they did, and were able to come out with the win. But, it was definitely hard-fought. Their team played really, really hard, and [I’m] excited to see what they accomplish. I’m also excited about our team. I think we’ve got a lot of good things going on. And it’s amazing to see what you can improve from here to the end. And so, [we’ve] got these games to see what you need to work on. It’ll be a lot of fun to get back to the drawing-board!”

Jerron Glazier, head Varsity Coach, grateful for their annual Stampede pre-season brush-up, stated, “Two games in, Valley was a great competitor: exactly the type of game we needed. I was a little disappointed in the third quarter. We started to be a little selfish, and not making that extra pass. We got a little fancy in transition a couple of times. But overall, I was glad they gutted-it-out. We found new ways to win. It was a completely different game from yesterday. So, exactly what we needed going into the Thanksgiving break.”

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