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Valley Buffalo Gals narrowly drop opener against Panguitch, proving they’ll be 1A contenders

Senior three-point specialist [two on the night], Janilyn Hoyt dribbling around Tabetha Henrie while the 22-member Bobcats bench looks on apprehensively when the Buffalos were leading 42-41 late in the fourth-quarter.

After the JV’s 44-42 victory over their Panguitch Bobcats counterparts, the Varsity got off to a nervously disappointing first-quarter down 15-5, then onto a halftime result trailing by a 2:1 ratio of 32-16. However, at the end of the third-quarter, they had bounced-back to edge ahead by a deuce: 38-36 commencing the fourth! From there, see-sawing through ties at 40 [3:25] and 42 [1:54] until Lydia Cox made a last-ditch free-throw as the Bobcats-favored foul-fest clawed them into a 49-43 finale.

“What a fantastic Region game!” rhapsodized Coach Dustin Cox following their courageous comeback loss. “I couldn’t have asked for more. Those girls! You know, we’ve got 10 of us. Seven of them play JV, and then coming off of JV to play Varsity. It’s kinda’ been the story of Valley High School, right? Just having both sides, which is good. They’re tough; they’re made for it.

“[It] just took us a minute to get the jitters out. Once we stopped turning it over and started looking down, just inching back. Third-quarter, it was 22-4; we scored 22, they scored four. And we could’ve held on to it had we shot 38 percent from the free-throw line: if we would’ve shot 55, which is very doable. I think last year we were high 60s, low 70s, on our free-throw percentage. So, even shooting 50 percent from the foul-line, we win, you know? So, that’s something that’s super-in (our) control. So, it’s nice to leave a game like that and have some answers for the girls. But as far as their work ethic, yeah, it’s really good.”

Fearlessly feisty Rachel Cox driving for the lay-up against Panguitch’s Adelaide Englestead, says: “We’re happy to be here, and we’re happy to play. And I think this game just proves that we have so much ahead of us this season. And I’m so excited for it!”

“It was a great game, I thought,” noted senior team leader Ruth Cox. “So, obviously, we were a little bit down at the half. But, then we came back firing, and we caught-up supergood. And our foul shots killed us, darn it. I think we shot 21 foul shots, but we made only eight. And so, for me, our foul shots would’ve just meant a different ball game. And so, that’s super-important, ‘cause foul shots are dang important. So, that’s what we’re gonna work on in practice: just foul shots, and then keep going. Starting strong, and then finishing strong!”

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