The boys varsity team competed in the 40th Annual Elks Basketball tournament at home this past weekend. The Bucs first game of the tournament was against the Cordova Wolverines. Valdez jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter leading 23-13. The Bucs stayed in control for the rest of the game widening their lead and winning 79-45. Junior Tyler Mann was the standout player for Valdez during the game scoring 23 points on 11-13 shooting. He also tallied 3 steals.
On Friday, the Bucs competed against the Kotzebue Huskies for a spot in the championship game. After a closely contested first few minutes of the game, the Bucs came out with a small 21-19 lead at the end of the first. Throughout the course of the game, Valdez slowly added to their lead and were able to stop Kotzebue during key runs to win 61-53. A key factor for the Buccaneer victory was their efficiency from the line. Valdez shot 23-24 from the free throw line for the game. Sophomore Bennett Hinkle led the way for Valdez in scoring with 16 points and had 7 rebounds.
On Saturday, Valdez played in the championship game against the Monroe Catholic Rams. This game proved to be the hardest game of the tournament for the Bucs. At the end of the first quarter the score was tied 11-11. In the second quarter Monroe jumped out to a small lead, but in the final few minutes of the quarter the Bucs went on a run to lead 32-29 at the half. In the third quarter, the rams fought back with a strong defensive presence and were able to edge out a 2 point lead going into the fourth and final quarter. The Rams capitalized on turnovers and widened the lead, eventually winning 52-43. The Bucs finished in 2nd place in the tournament. Bennett Hinkle led the Bucs in scoring once again with 15 points on 6-7 shooting and had strong defensive presence and recorded 3 blocks. Though the Bucs weren’t able to win the championship, during the awards ceremony of the tournament Valdez had 4 kids selected to the Boys All-Tournament Team (Seth Auble, Bennett Hinkle, Aiden Hinkle, and Tyler Mann). This weekend the Bucs will play at home against the Eielson Ravens.