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Valley Boys drop heartbreaker while entering State ranked fifth in Region 20

The Buffalos began their campaign of the 1A Region 20 Tournament with a play-in game on Thursday, February 15, against the Milford Tigers. After leading, 26-25, at the half and 44-36 into the fourth-stanza, Valley was ahead 58- 53 at the two-minute mark, and a seven point spread, 60-53, at 1:35. Then, Milford’s Sadler Barnes drained a trey, 60-56, at 1:19. Jace Cox was fouled while shooting and sank one of his free throws: 61-56 at 37:5. At 22:7, Barnes made two free-throws: 60-58. Then, he immediately intercepted Valley’s inbound pass for a deuce from the right side under the hoop, adding one-point foul shot for his trouble to tie at 61. Preston Franklin scored the second of two for one of his own and the go-ahead, 62-61, at 10:2. From the half-court inbounding, Barnes drove uncontested at 5:2 to the bucket: 63-62 for the winner!

Left to right, photos by Jerry Melrose:

  • Jace Cox eyes his high-arching three-point shot against Escalante, adding to his two triples in the game and 33 scores in the Region 20 Tournament held in Panguitch.

  • Boede Cox, Buffalos’ three-point ace, floating back to the floor following through from one of his nine triples under the confirming signal of the referee. He says, “They’ll try to be holding me down a lot better at State. They always have a guy tight on me looking at my chest the whole time.” Of his 27-point Region entry, he notes, “That was a good game to freshen and free a little bit making my shot. So, it was good.”

Jace paced Valley’s assault with 17 tallies from six doubles, no triples and, after eight charity attempts, scored five [6-0-8-5]. Warren Spencer [5- 1-0-0] and Boede Cox [2-3-0-0] brought in 13 each. Johnny Cox joined in with 10 [4- 0-2-2], and Preston pressed in eight [2-1- 4-1].

On Saturday afternoon, they met the Moquis of Escalante for a breezy, 60-36, State Tournament warmup match, featuring a barrage of nine three pointers by Boede Cox [0-9-0-0]! Jace contributed a 16-point salvo [5-2-0-0], along with Johnny’s 10 [4-0-2-2], Warren’s five [4-0-2-1 and Preston’s two [1- 0-0-0].

Coach Owen Hoyt analyzed the team’s tournament’s performance. “At times I see us playing solid defense: shifting our zone really well, communicating, boxing-out: doing all the things right. And then, every once in a while we have mental lapses, and our defense gets soft. So, if we can continue to improve on defense and do a better job of making every position difficult for the opponent, you know, I’d be satisfied with that.

“A tough loss to Milford. We held them to 36 points in three quarters, and then gave them 27 to end the game. So, that’s just way too many in a quarter. Had a five-point lead with 30 seconds; so, to lose that one is a heartbreaker. But the kids rebounded well: played tough against Escalante today. A pretty good defense. Boede got hot and hit, I believe, nine threes!

“So, [I] like seeing the ball going through the hoop! But, I keep telling my kids, ‘Sometimes the ball goes in, sometimes it doesn’t; but defense can be there every night.’ And that’s what we’re focused on. So, hopefully, when we come to the State Tournament, we’re playing our best basketball offensively and defensively. And we’ll see what chances we have.”

Of his stellar showering of a seemingly effortless array of treys, Boede Cox selflessly shared his game’s mindset. “Yeah, I shot the open ones, and they were just falling today. I just knew I had eight, and they set me out with just five minutes to go. And then, they’re like, ‘Maybe you can break a record!’ So, they put me back in with, like, three minutes to go. And I hit another one, and I probably coulda’ hit more; but I passed them up and gave the other kids chances. But, it’s okay, I’ll break a record at State, probably. I’ll try to no matter how hard it is.”

Due to the Buffalos’ high ranking, they’ll forgo the scheduled First Round games on Saturday, February 24. So, they’ll be displaying their talents next during the State Tournament at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield from February 28 - March 2.




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