Cara Southwick Johnson
Last Friday night, an enthusiastic audience sat on the edge of their seats for the curtain to rise on this year’s Tri-Valley Varsity Boys’ basketball team. Their premier performance was held at Timberline High School against the Rockland Bulldogs. The starting cast for the Titans boasts four seniors: Michael Barnett, Jayden Mink, Cody Nixon, and Orion Southwick joined by junior Ty Barnett. Coming off the bench in leading roles are Garrett Bunker, a junior, and Michael Carpenter, a senior.
From the start the Titan-Bulldog match up was a tense one with a 9-point tied score at the end of the first quarter. Early in the second quarter the Bulldogs began to pull away, but three timely 3-pointers by Michael Barnett, Cody Nixon, and Garrett Bunker put the Titans back in the game. At the buzzer Orion Southwick put back an offensive rebound and was fouled. His three point play pushed the Titans ahead 23 to 20.
The second half brought a quick, more intense Titan defense that continued to choke Rockland’s offensive opportunities, holding them to 14 points to Tri-Valley’s 25 points to end the game 48-34 for the Titans at the final curtain. Leading the scoring scene were Orion Southwick with 15 points and Jayden Mink with 11 points, while Michael Carpenter led with 5 rebounds and Orion, Jayden, and Garrett added 4 each.
Saturday afternoon at Timberline High School brought a matinee performance for the Titans against the Sho-Ban Chiefs. Opening the game was the hot hand of Jayden Mink who put up three 3-pointers to rattle the Chief’s and bring confidence to Tri-Valley
. Upstaging Sho-Ban was the stifling defense of the Titans and 43% scoring average that left the Chiefs stunned with a halftime score of 41-8 for Tri-Valley.
The scoring rendition in the second half continued for the Titans with contributions from the whole team that resulted in a running clock in the 4th quarter and final score of 78-19 for Tri-Valley. Scoring stars were Ty Barnett with 17 points, Orion Southwick with 15 points, and Jayden Mink with 12 points.
Reflecting on the games, Coach Barrett Morris said, “This year’s team has an aggressive non-league schedule to open the season. We faced a good Rockland team (a rematch of last year’s state opening round) and had a quick turnaround playing Sho-Ban the following afternoon on a neutral floor. Our players met the challenge and played well. We still have much to work on and improve upon. However, I am excited to watch the team progress.”
As the final buzzer sounded and the players took their final bows, a very satisfied audience rendered a hearty applause for a great debut performance.
Orion Southwick (#10) Outreaches for the opening Tip-off against Rockland.