VHS Varsity Boys Basketball at Home vs Monroe Catholic Rams


VHS Varsity Boys Basketball Wrap-Up [February 24 & 25]

Courtesy of VHS Coaches

The Buccaneers welcomed the Monroe Catholic Rams to town for a two game stint over the
weekend. The Rams are always a tough opponent and did not disappoint in that respect again
this year, entering the weekend ranked in the top five in 4A basketball.Saturday night was also Senior Night – the final home game of the 2022-2023 season. Senior Night is designed to not only recognize the student-athlete’s for their contributions on the court
the past four years but also to provide a venue for the players to acknowledge and thank those
that have loved and supported them over the course of their high school career. The five
Seniors on the boy’s varsity basketball team are (in no particular order): Dillon Fowler, Allen
Watson, Bryce Tucker, Payton Gage, and Hunter Mathews.

Friday, February 24th: Valdez 38, Monroe Catholic 57
On Friday night the Bucs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after a Payton Gage layup that was
facilitated by a Bryce Tucker assist. It was a short-lived lead, however, as Monroe converted a
3-pointer on the next possession. The Bucs would not be able to establish another lead, or
even tie the score, the remainder of the game.
They trailed 15-7 after the first quarter, due in large part to gathering zero offensive rebounds
and not attempting a single free throw in the first stanza. During the second quarter, the Bucs
were more active on the offensive boards (snagging 4), attempted more FG’s, and converted
two free throws – but were only able to net 11 points in the quarter. Meanwhile, Monroe chipped
in 16 in the same frame and entered the half with a 31-18 lead.
The Buccaneers needed to put together a dominant third quarter in order to close the contest
and make the game close going into the final quarter. Unfortunately, they were unable to do so.
The Bucs shot a dismal 1-for-8 from the field in the third quarter, scoring a meager 5 points,
while yielding 16 to the Rams. Instead of a competitive game entering the fourth, the Bucs
faced a 44-23 deficit and an improbable comeback against the hot-shooting Rams. While the
Bucs outscored the Rams in the 4th, they ultimately suffered defeat by a score of 57-38.
Statistically speaking, much of the contest was close between the two teams: points off
turnovers (12, 11), points in the paint (18, 20), and turnovers (13, 12) to name a few. The three
categories that stand out the most are: rebounds, shot attempts, and shooting percentage.
Monroe Catholic registered 17 rebounds compared to the Bucs’ 8. For the game the
Buccaneers shot 14/41 from the field – including 2 for 12 (17%) beyond the arc. Conversely, the
Rams went 22/55 from the field – including 12 for 29 (41%) from 3-point territory.
No Buccaneer registered double figure scoring, but all 9 rostered and eligible Bucs entered the
game and recorded a positive statistic. Dillon Fowler successfully drew 2 offensive fouls, while
Payton Gage also drew one.

Saturday, February 25th: Valdez 36, Monroe Catholic 52

Unlike Friday, the Bucs did not jump out to an early lead on Saturday. Much like the night
before, however, the Bucs were unable to tie or lead the entire game. The game script was
eerily similar, with the Bucs bookending acceptable quarters in the first and fourth and exhibiting
anemic offense during the second and third quarter.
The Bucs ended the first quarter down 13-8 and well within striking distance until an abysmal
offensive performance in the second quarter – going 0-for-9 from the field and only being able to
score on 3 free throws. Despite the anemic offense, the game was not completely out of reach
entering the half, as the Bucs trailed by a score of 25-11.
The continued poor offensive showing in the third quarter appeared to have sealed the Bucs’
fate, though, as they ended the third quarter down by a margin of 25 (42-17). Or did it? The
Bucs exhibited a great deal of resolve and determination from the onset of the fourth quarter –
outscoring the Rams in the quarter and forcing 13 Monroe turnovers in that same frame. The
Bucs ultimately fell by a score of 52-36, but the frenetic pace and energy during the quasi-
comeback in the fourth quarter left the crowd a bit energized and provided positive takeaways
for the Bucs in what was otherwise a disappointing weekend on the hardwood.
Payton Gage led the Buccaneers in scoring with 19 points. No other Buc scored in double
figures, but all 9 rostered players entered the game and provided a positive statistic. Dillon
Fowler drew the assignment to guard the Monroe “big” for the second night in a row and
collected three offensive fouls taken on Saturday – making 5 for the weekend.

Senior Recognition:
As mentioned previously, Senior Night is designed to recognize those Seniors moving on from
the program, and to allow those players to express their gratitude and sentiments to those that
they have relied upon and counted on throughout their careers – namely their respective
Congratulations to the five young men that played the game they enjoy in front of a home crowd
for the final time. May you remember that occasion and your high school basketball career
fondly when you look back on it years from now. It’s exciting and gratifying to watch you grow
and mature both on and off the court.

Upcoming games:
The Buccaneers next travel to Delta Junction to take on Aurora Conference opponents Delta
Huskies. The pair of games represent the final regular-season games of the season and will
determine the seeding the Buccaneers have entering the Aurora Conference Regional
Tournament held March 9th, 10th, and 11th.