Valiant Buffalo Gals prevail as Sophomore Tournament Champions by 16 with only four players


The Valley Buffalos stomping through the Bryce Valley Sophomore Tournament as champions are (l-r): varsity players Janni Hoyt and Brittyn Heaton, assistant coach and team bus driver Mesia Lamb, Lydia Cox, Kimber Reeve, D''Aundra House, Raigen Frost, Rachel Cox, Assistant Coach Harmony Cox, Head Coach Dustin Cox and varsity player Ruth Cox. Photo by Freddie House.

The Bryce Valley Sophomore Tournament was held on January 7-8, with a field seven participating 1A rural schools, mentioned here in eventual final placement order from Championship-winning Valley: Wayne, Panguitch, Milford, Piute, Escalante and the hosts.


“Oh, what a great Sophomore Tournament it was!” Head coach Dustin Cox enthused with a justifiable button-busting pride of the accomplishments achieved by his minimally staffed entourage, “We only had five girls, and we went over knowing we had to be very careful on our fouls and play our game knowing there were no subs. So, these girls played three straight games: one Friday and two on Saturday. They were just amazing!


“They kept it tight. We beat Piute by one; we beat Panguitch by one; and we ended-up having to finish the Championship game with only four players, because Lydia Cox fouled-out at 6:48 left in the fourth-quarter! And we held, and we advanced.


“All the teams in Region 20 are tough; but that Wayne team was a tough team! We couldn’t rest for a second. It took all of them, and they had the heart and mindset. They came together and they played, played, played.


“Won by 16 with four players on the court! Lydia Cox didn’t stop: had fouled-out, and on the bench, she was just a-yelling, a-cheering and coaching! Brittyn Heaton, Ruth Cox and Janni Hoyt didn’t play, but came to support their younger teammates. That was important to me; it was important to the team, the other coaches, even though they didn’t have uniforms on.


“D’Aundra House was able to play ‘cause she didn’t play as a freshman or sophomore, and because we notified the other teams. Piute was allowed to play with a junior, too, because they only had five players. Milford had six or seven.”


With a rapid-fire youthful zest, freshman Rachel Cox offered a spirited play-by-play account of the team’s three tournament victories. “So, it was super-exciting! We played Piute first. It was a tight game, back-and-forth the whole time. I don’t think either of us got ahead by more than seven. So, when it got right down to it, way down to the end of the game, they were up by one, and House got fouled on a shot. She got up to the foul line, and ‘D’ made both buckets. So we won by one on foul shooting [30-29]. So, we were super-hyped by that!


“Then we go to the Panguitch game, and it’s kind of the same situation. Like, it’s super-tight the whole time. When it comes down to it, Tabitha Henrie got fouled and made both shots. So, they were up by one; and, there’s 22 seconds left on the clock; so, we’ve got to hurry fast! I take the ball out; and dribble down the sideline. I get fouled; and they have 10 fouls, so, it’s a bonus-shot for me. I was on the line with two shots; we were down by one. That was nerve-racking! I missed them both; but then, House knocks the rebound loose from the Panguitch girl. Lydia dives for the ball; she passes it to Raigen Frost before she travels. Frost passes it off to me, and I make a lay-up. We win by one [31-30]; that was super-crazy!


“In the Championship game, we were playing Wayne. We did get a good run at them way in the beginning. And then, in the fourth-quarter, there’s about six-and-a half-minutes left, and Lydia fouls out. In the whole tournament, the refs were like ‘you guys have five and Piute has five,’ so they were just kind of letting us play. But, in the Championship Game, Lydia Cox had four fouls, then fouled-out. So, we had to finish the game with four. At first, we got a little scrambled together, but ended-up winning the Championship by 16 [47-31] with four players on the court!”


Of their most memorable encounter, House added, “You know, the whole game we kept it exciting. It was hard when we lost Lydia Cox in that last game, but we kept on fighting to the end.” Cox responded, “It was great! We worked hard with a good attitude with only five of us, knowing what we had to do, and it worked out for us in the end.” Frost observed, “We only had five of us and it was pretty exciting the whole time, and, you know, we did it!” And Kimber Reeve commented, “We couldn’t have done it without everyone!”


Team scoring was led by Reeve with 42 (22 in the championship alone), House with 30, Rachel had 21 (the only team-member making any three-pointer, with one in each game), Frost tallied 10 and Cox seven.


Next on the schedule is with both squads away at Bryce Valley on the Thursday, the 13th, and at home versus Piute on Wednesday, the 19th.

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