Mesquite, NV –

Today, three of the sports teams of Virgin Valley High School (VVHS) welcome in their biggest rival of all-time, Moapa Valley High School (MVHS) for league play and all three games have big implications on the rest of the season.

QB Nina Miramontes throws a pass in game last week against Pinecrest Academy Cadence. (Photo: Jason Andrus)

The Girls Flag Football Team takes on the Pirates of Moapa Valley starting at 4:30 pm at the VVHS Evan Wilson Stadium. The other two “showdowns” are for the basketball teams. The Girls Basketball Game starts at 5:00 pm within the new gymnasium at VVHS while the Boys Basketball expect to start their game following the Girls game at 6:30 pm.

The Girls Football Team is undefeated with a record of 11-0 with being the #1 offense in the state of Nevada for 3A Division. They last blanked Boulder City with a score of 34-0 and expect to not let their “foot off the gas” in pertaining to their offensive strikes. They have been led by the strong seniors who include Nina Miramontes at Quarterback, Calla Haviland at Wide Receiver, and Kelly Denninghoff at Runningback. While their offense is their strong suit, they still have one of the best defenses in the state, having held their opponents to under 13 points for 5 games and did not allow a score in 5 games. The only game they allowed more than 13 points was against Coronado where they won 33-32 in a tightly contested matchup on January 7th.

The Pirates Girls Flag Football has a record of 6-3 and the only other team that came close to beating the Bulldogs in a losing effort of 18-13 on January 4th. The Pirates are lead by Sophomore Quarterback Kyndal Longman, Senior Receiver Paige Fairchild, and Senior Runningback Ellie Cornwall. They have a strong offensive team with an even stronger defense. The Pirates have only lost other than to the Bulldogs 2 other matches at a tournament at the beginning of the season to bigger schools Green Valley and Palo Verde. The lost to Green Valley by 13 points (25-12) and Palo Verde by only 3 (21-18). The still remain Virgin Valley’s biggest threat this year, especially being a rivalry game and the returning NIAA 3A State Champions.

The Girls Basketball Team for the Bulldogs has been on a “tear” lately, ripping through opponents and even upsetting the favored Losee Lions in Overtime last Saturday, on the 22nd of January. They are currently 10-5 record with the best recent win being their upset win over Losee 66-59. The starting five for the girls have been pretty even in scoring and defensive stats throughout the year, but they have had a strong leader in come out of Junior Riley Price who dropped 22 points against Losee. On the defensive side, they have had strong play from Sophomores Reggi Frei with steals average of 2.4 per game and Ana Tausinga with 7.3 rebounds per game and 0.6 blocks per game.

VVHS Athlete Evia Toone passes the ball during their come-from-behind win against Somerset Academy Losee. (Photo: Jason Andrus)

The MVHS Pirates are 15-2 on the season with their only two losses being to powerhouse Shadow Ridge and barely losing by two points to Needles (CA). The Pirates have been dominant in play all season, led by Senior Guard Emma Humes, averaging 17 points per game with 2.8 assists per game. She is known to be a near pristine three-point shooter. The Bulldogs have a “tall” order in facing them with the lineup of the Pirate players under the basket, including Sophomore Hayley Western, Junior Sydney Reese, and Senior Shanlin Totten at Center. The three average 18.4 rebounds per game while Reese averages 2.7 blocks per game.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” said VVHS Girls Head Coach Cliff Hughes. “When these two schools get together it is always going to be a battle. We are going to have to play well. Moapa has a solid group of athletes and are well coached. Should be a fun night!”

MVHS Girls Head Coach Brandon Jones stated in relation to the contest, “We are excited to play at Virgin Valley. We know they are a well coached team and will come out and play hard against us. They have a couple of really good post players, so we are excited for the challenge of playing over at their place.”

The last match-up is the Boys Basketball teams. The 11-6 Virgin Valley Boys are led by their 6’3″ Senior dynamic offensive player Benson Leavitt. Leavitt has been unstoppable claiming around 18 points each game during the season. The Virgin Valley Boys have been incredible on 3-points made, beating out their opponents by double figures on 3 point attempts made. On defense, they have dominated on the defensive boards also beating out other opponents by double figures, with the exception of a couple of their losses. Also some strong play has been from Junior Stratton Waite and Seniors Kyler Sudweeks and Cam Perkins. Another key person on the team has been Senior Jayden Hunter who has nailed some key 3-pointers and added some steals for the team. As for the key to the Bulldogs has been their 3-points made and as well as their rebounding. The Bulldogs also have one of the deepest benches in the state.

Kyler Sudweeks hits a three during their game last Saturday, January 22nd. (Photo: YoshiYama Photography)

The MVHS Pirates are currently sitting at 9-10 record, but don’t let the record fool you as they have won 4 of their last 5 games. They started off slow after coming off the Football state champs mood which most of their athletes were in. They found their deep intensity needed more grace and as the season went on they have found that grace and become an unstoppable team on the boards. They are led by Senior Guard Peyton Nielson who has 14.2 points per game, 2.4 assists per game, 4.9 rebounds per game, and 2.3 steals per game. Nielson has become a well-rounded MVP-style player. Also, another powerhouse is Senior Dustin Gordon who has been averaging 7.4 rebounds per game and has had 3 double-doubles this season. Gordon also leads the team in steals per game at 3 and blocks per game at 1. As for assists, Austin Heiselbetz has been more than “sharing is caring” attitude as he has 3.6 assists per game and help lift others in points scored up.

MVHS Head Coach Kevin Walker stated about the matchup today. “The valley rivalry is always fun and competitive and we all missed it last season. Our teams match up well this season and we will see who can play their game and stick with the game-plan. In my experience with the rivalry, you can usually expect it to be a dogfight. Often a less-talented team wins the game because they come to play, and compete like champs.”

VVHS Head Coach Ty Wakefield simply stated, “The rivalry is special! I asked the players on the team what they would say and they replied, You just gotta be there.”

Just a reminder the Girls Flag Football start at 4:30 pm, the Girls Basketball at 5:00 pm, and the Boys Basketball at 6:30 pm tonight. The games are at Virgin Valley High School. The rivalry will always be a competitive and hard-fought battle, but in order to fully experience it… “You just gotta be there.”

 

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