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Valley varsity boys gauging their early campaign ‘potential’ with impressive comeback victory

On Saturday, December 3, the Buffalos hosted the Mount Vernon Patriots from Murray.

Buffalos’ ball-handler Cooper Chamberlain drives by the Patriots’ Stephen Wang as his fellow-senior Bret Heaton stands agape at his crafty maneuver toward the bucket. VHS sports photos by Jerry Melrose.

The JVs boasted a 37-25 lead midway on 4 treys by Boede Cox, only to drop back for a 52-50 loss. In the main card, after a slow start behind 18-12 at the quarter while adjusting to the somewhat initially intimidating height differential, the Varsity led 35-31 at the half, and 51-39 post-three. In the Buffalos eight-point fourth frame, the Patriots surged on with 17, but fell short in the end 59-56. In the win, Valley’s ‘big’ men of their own answered as 6’4’’ homies MaCoy Harris (21), Bret Heaton (17) and Johnny Cox notched their early marks for the season.

Meet MaCoy Harris! The 6’4” team leader is leaping for the ‘Joy of the Game’ in his Grand Finale season locking arms with upcoming Boede Cox as young Emmett Hoyt looks on in admiration after slapping hands with his hero. Admits the ‘real’ MaCoy, “Yeah, it was a little intimidating seeing a buncha’ big guys. But, what I told the team before we started is, like, ‘we’ve been playing basketball for our whole lives, and it’s just the same game we’ve been playing. And just go out there and just have fun!’ And it took a little while to get going, but we finally did. Shots weren’t falling; so, our free-throws. We’re definitely gonna’ have to work on those. That’s what made the game close. But we got the win, and that’s all that matters.”

“We played Mount Vernon last year up to their place, and they actually played us pretty close. It was a tough game,” explained Coach Owen Hoyt. “I didn’t know what to expect with them. I couldn’t get a real scouting report, as far as watching any games. But we knew they were gonna’ be big: they have some size [6’11” Steff Zhang from the New Territories region of Hong Kong and 6’8” Thomas Niu, both from China]. I thought they shot the ball well; they hustled well. You know, they were very fundamentally sound.

“We wanted a competitive game today, and we got it! And our kids: we wanted to see how they were gonna’ respond against the pressure. And I thought they responded well. We were not good from the free-throw line: 12 for 25. We’ve got to be much better there. Our guys rebounded tough against a bigger squad. I thought we executed well down the stretch, and pulled out the win.

“We had quite a lay-over. We haven’t played for over two weeks, and I could tell how our boys were a bit rusty. But, we’ve got three games next week, starting with the home game on Wednesday [December 7 vs. Fredonia], then we go to the 1A Preview [SVC at 2:30 p.m. on Friday December 9 vs. Whitehorse and Saturday vs. Tabiona at 10:30]. We’re gonna’ see what the best of 1A has to offer. So, we’re excited to start playing some basketball, and get some games in. And I think our boys are ready.”

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