Bulldogs win two close games against Maeser Prep and Delta
GUNNISON—The Bulldogs are hitting their stride early this season, thanks to an all-around effort.
The Gunnison Valley High School varsity boys basketball team began the season with a hard-fought 63-61 win against Maeser Prep before traveling to Delta to pick up another solid 67-61 victory.
Expectations seemed to point toward senior Cole Stewart to lead the way for Gunnison following a solid junior season, but while Stewart has produced, other scorers have led the way for the Bulldogs to get to where they are so far in the season.
“Senior experience has been the difference in winning close games,” head coach Ben Hill said. “That has been a major challenge for us the past few seasons. We have always had hard-working players, but we have had limited varsity experience the past few seasons. The seniors this year have been in these situations before and experienced what is needed to win tight ball games.”
Against Maeser Prep, Gunnison controlled three quarters of the game, leading 47-37 going into the fourth, and then staved off a vicious comeback effort from the Lions, who scored 24 points in the final quarter. The Bulldogs held the lead through a consistent offensive game from beginning to end to seal the victory.
The biggest surprise of the game was a stellar game from junior Drew Hill, who made three three-pointers en route to a 23-point night. Stewart contributed 16 points.
Having survived their first game of the season with confidence to boot, the Bulldogs took it to Delta on their own court with another solid offensive day. The Rabbits certainly made things interesting by outscoring Gunnison 23-12 in the first quarter, but the Bulldogs had none of it in the second and third, collectively outscoring Delta 39-19 in those quarters. Gunnison then cruised to the finish line to seal the deal.
While Stewart and Hill once again had solid nights with 12 and 13 points, respectively, they were just two of the four players in double figures for the Bulldogs. Senior forward Tyler Francis led Gunnison with 17 points while junior Gage Mogle put in 14, with two threes.
“Our senior players will be the key moving forward,” Hill says. “We are not a very big team, so defense and rebounding will be a huge focus for us throughout the season.”
The Bulldogs played their home opener yesterday against Waterford (score unavailable) before they travel to face American Leadership Academy next Wednesday.