By DAVE BELCHER
Moapa Valley Progress
If you are not attending Moapa Valley High School basketball games, you are missing some good basketball! Over the past couple of years, the Pirate boys’ basketball team has struggled, it’s true. They have not been able to compete with the Las Vegas schools, where the kids play year around including some who travel the country with an AAU program. Some of these teams will play up to one hundred games in a year including tournaments.
But this year Moapa Valley is fielding a strong team; one that is able to hold its own and not getting blown out every game.
The Pirates have been competing in every game, including a huge win over Virgin Valley who has qualified for the region tournament the past two years. This year’s Pirates team is exciting to watch as they push the ball up the floor averaging five points more a game than they did last year.
On Friday night, the Pirates hosted Chaparral; who took time from the Tarkanian classic that they have been playing in last week; for a league game.
Chaparral is currently in first place with a 4-0 record after their win in Moapa Valley. The Cowboys held on to beat the Pirates 79-67.
But Moapa Valley hung close in the first quarter. Nathaniel Thompson started the game with the first six points for the Pirates on way to 31 total for the game. Thompson put the Pirates up 3-points when he hit a driving layup and a free throw after he was fouled. That gave the Pirates a 14-10 lead.
Chaparral then turned up the defense forcing three Pirate turnovers and scoring a quick 9-points in about one minute of game time.
After a Pirate timeout, Trey Jones hit a three-point basket and was fouled going to the free throw line. He missed the free throw, but the Pirates cut into the Chaparral lead to trail by just 2-points at the end of the first quarter.
Moapa Valley lost the game in the second quarter. They just could not keep up with the Cowboys who turned up the pace forcing a few Pirate turnovers on way to a 27-point second quarter holding the Pirates to 13-points and holding a 46-30 lead at halftime.
Moapa Valley would not give up, though. They kept pace with a 15-16 third quarter and then cut the Cowboy lead in half by the end of the game as the Pirates scored 22-points for the final. Moapa Valley outscored the Cowboys 22-17 in the fourth quarter.
With the loss the Pirates are 1-1 in league play. The Pirates continue to dress only seven due to injuries. The Pirates will take some time off to heal and will return to the floor on January 1 when they host Beaver Dam, Arizona in a non-league game.
Thompson finished with 31 points for the Pirates while Trey Jones scored 12 points.
Jonathan Tendale scored 32 points for the Cowboys. He was impressive in driving to the basket. Elijah Briggs scored 12 and Prineko Kolaker added 10 points.