Warriors Defeat Patriots

Hoopa Valley High School Sophomore Gary Juan, center, leaps towards the basket while Liberty Christian players Aaron Fisher, left, Steele Roberts, center right, and Chase Bunn, far right, watch in amazement during the JV game on Saturday, January 18. /Photo by Kristan Korns, Two Rivers Tribune

By KRISTAN KORNS, Two Rivers Tribune

Hoopa’s JV boy’s basketball team defeated Redding’s Liberty Christian High School 68-54 in a hard-fought game on Saturday, January 18, just one day after their 49-45 victory over South Fork.

Rico Tello, Hoopa Valley High School’s JV boy’s basketball coach, pointed out Patriots player Jordan Chao before the game. “That little guard is their best player; he sets up a strong offense. If we can hold him we should be able to win.”

Chao didn’t disappoint the fans from Redding, putting an impressive 21 points on the board just from three-pointers alone, and keeping the pressure up on the JV Warriors for most of the game.

The Warriors started off strong; scoring the first four points with baskets from Sophomore Jarod Fullerton and Freshman Damien Trunkey, and ending the first quarter in the lead 16-7.

Relentless pressure from Chao and his teammates, including Aaron Fisher and Jacob Watts who each put 5 points on the board, narrowed the Warriors’ lead from nine down to only three points.

Chou snatched the ball after a rebound and galloped the length of the court, heading for a layup with just 3 seconds left in the first half, and narrowly missed.

The second quarter ended with Hoopa still in the lead, 26-23.

Unfortunately for the Patriots, they had just six players on their JV team compared to 12 players for Hoopa, and they weren’t able to maintain the same intensity in the second half.

Liberty Christian’s Fisher sank a basket, followed by three-pointers from Warriors Nah Tes Jackson and Trunkey, a layup from Fullerton, and two free throws between Trunkey and Gary Juan.

Hoopa surged ahead and it looked like there was no stopping them, until a flurry of three-pointers from the Patriots’ Chao along with baskets from Redding Freshman Chase Bunn, brought the teams back within five points of each other, at 57-52 with just two minutes left.

The Warriors surged ahead again, and Jackson sank one last shot from outside the three-point line in the last seven seconds of the game, sealing Hoopa’s 68-54 victory.

“He gave us a run for our money last time too,” Jackson said, nodding towards Chao. “It was a good game.”

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