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Girls Varsity Basketball (Coach Joe Robison):
Conference Championship Weekend
Thursday, March 7
The Valdez girls entered the Aurora Conference Tournament as the 2nd seed. The Lady Bucs squared off against the Monroe Rams, who defeated 6th seeded Eielson, on Thursday in a semifinal game, The game was close throughout, with the Lady Bucs holding a 16-14 lead. A strong 3rd quarter saw the Bucs pull ahead by 11, which ultimately resulted in a 36 – 27 win. The win would propel the Lady Bucs into the Championship game on Friday.
Valdez held Monroe to 26% shooting from the floor. The Lady Bucs also collected 21 offensive rebounds, en route to out-rebounding Monroe 45 – 19. The Bucs were led in scoring by Reese King with 12 pts. and Ally Seiber with 10 pts. Seiber also added 15 rebounds and 4 blocks. Jillian Fleming had a solid defensive game, totaling 5 steals.
Friday, March 8
On Friday, the Lady Bucs met the Hutchison Hawks for the Aurora Conference Championship. The game was a defensive struggle throughout, with the Lady Bucs playing their best defensive game of the season. Valdez held a 13 — 8 halftime lead, en route to a 33-23 win over the Hawks.
The Bucs held the Hawks to 18% from the field, while shooting 41% themselves. The biggest stat of the game was in the rebounding category, where the Lady Bucs out-rebounded the much larger Hawks 30 – 16.
The Lady Bucs were led in scoring by Ally Seiber and Ashley Ramoth, who had 8 pts. apiece. Jillian Fleming added 7 points. Fleming also had 15 rebounds and 3 steals, and was crucial on the defensive end. The win gave the Lady Bucs the 2019 Aurora Conference Championship, and a berth in the state tournament.
Sportsmanship Award: Jillian Fleming
All Conference Award: Ally Seiber and Reese King
Jade Watts and Ashley Ramoth also won the team “Around the World” Shooting Competition.
“I am extremely proud of this group of young ladies. They have accomplished what no one, besides those in our locker room, thought they could. They are coachable, work extremely hard, and have earned everything they have gotten.
I know there are always individual awards given out, and that is the nature of tournaments and conferences. However, as the year has progressed, this group has really bought into our team concept. Everything we do is centered around who we are as a group, and that “team mentality” is what has made everything they have accomplished possible. It is an honor to make it to the state tournament, and I could not be prouder of these young ladies.”
Boys Varsity Basketball (Coach Bart Hinkle):
Thursday, March 7th: Valdez 60, Delta Junction 46
The Valdez Buccaneers entered the weekend boasting a 19-5 record, earning them the Aurora Conference regular-season title and number one seed entering the Aurora Conference Tournament. As the top seed, they received a first-round bye and awaited the winner of the Delta Junction-Hutchison Hawks matchup.
For the third consecutive Thursday, the Bucs took on the Delta Junction Huskies. This time the Buccaneers wasted little time in establishing their dominance, leading 19-11 after the first quarter and 37-8 after halftime. The lead extended to 56-22 after the third quarter and eventually resulted in a 60-46 victory.
Bennett Hinkle led all scorers with 22 points. Jalen Freeman and Kyler LaBonte each chipped in 12. Defensively, the Bucs forced Delta into 19 turnovers and successfully drew 5 offensive fouls [Kyler LaBonte, Rafael Alfaro, Bennett Hinkle, Logan Heckathorn, and Ike Watson each drew one].
The victory placed the Buccaneers in Friday evenings championship game, with the winner of that contest automatically qualifying for the State Tournament.
Friday, March 8th: Valdez 59, Eielson 44
Thursday night’s other semifinal contest saw the Eielson Ravens defeat the Monroe Rams, setting up a championship game of Valdez v. Eielson.
The Buccaneers again started off well, jumping out to an 18-11 first quarter lead, followed by a 33-22 halftime advantage. The Bucs won the third stanza as well, and took a 50-35 lead into the fourth quarter en route to a 59-44 victory and Aurora Conference Championship.
Bennett Hinkle led all scorers with 21 points and 7 rebounds. Logan Heckathorn netted 13 and also garnered 7 rebounds, while Kyler LaBonte chipped in 11 points. Bennett Hinkle and Logan Heckathorn each successfully drew an offensive foul.
Saturday, March 9th:
Having secured the Aurora Conference Championship the night before, the Bucs did not have to play on Saturday. Instead it was a day in which they could relax, watch basketball, participate in shooting contests, and – ultimately- reap the rewards of a season of hard work (see Awards).
At the awards ceremony on Saturday, the following awards were bestowed upon the Bucs:
They were crowned the 2019 Aurora Conference Champions.
Logan Heckathorn and Jalen Freeman were recognized as the “Around the World” champions in a partner shooting contest that too place during a break in the action on Saturday afternoon.
Kyler LaBonte was voted onto the “All-Sport” team.
Logan Heckathorn, Ike Watson, and Jalen Freeman were named to the Aurora Conference All-Conference Team.
Bennett Hinkle was named the Aurora Conference MVP.
Coach Todd Wegner was recognized as the Aurora Conference Coach of the Year.
The Buccaneers next take their 21-5 record, and #2 overall seed, to the State Tournament. On Thursday, March 21st -at 3:30- the Bucs will face a familiar foe in the #7 seed (and at-large recipient) Monroe Catholic Rams.