By Coach Lonnie Flippen, VISD
Everyone knows the story of Cinderella where the beautiful step-sister wins the handsome prince. And then there’s the story of David and Goliath. On Tuesday, the fairy tale came true for the Valentine Lady Pirates. There are those that think of Valentine as the “ugly step-sister” of Jeff Davis County. Fort Davis usually wins the “handsome prince” in the form of a basketball game and other sports. Valentine played the part of “David” to the larger, and more affluent, Fort Davis “Goliath” and pulled off the ultimate upset defeating the Lady Indians in a nail-biter, winning 43-42 on an end of the game free throw made by freshman, Jaymie Sanchez. Miss Sanchez had already missed eight free throws that could have “iced” the game much earlier but all was forgiven when she nailed that last free throw with about 17 seconds left on the clock. (She had also made nine more free throws so all was forgiven a second time.) It also needs to be said that the win was pulled-off with the Pirates playing the last six minutes of the game a little short-handed. Francis Sanchez, one of the five Lady Pirates, fouled out and the victory was even sweeter because it was won with four scrappy Lady Pirates having to play all out against five Lady Indians.
The Lady Pirates close out a bookend season that began with 3 straight wins and ended with a two-game win streak. This was partially due to losing their only senior, Jessie Garcia, in the middle of the year. Garcia suffered a season-ending injury just before the start of district. She was often the high point scorer for the team in its early games and was a defensive stalwart for the team.
The Lady Pirates defeated Dell City last week for the second time this year by a score of 34-30 and then pulled off the big win against their cross-county rivals in front of an appreciative home crowd to finish the season with a 5 and 9 record. Keep in mind that this was the first year, in about six years, that the Pirates had fielded a girls team. To make that even more interesting is the fact that a couple of the girls had little, or no, experience playing the game of basketball before this season.
In the final game of the 2017-18 season, Jaymie Sanchez led all scorers with her 19 points. All five Pirates scored with Francis Sanchez putting in 10 points before fouling out. Freshman, Samantha Kuhlman played her best game of the year scoring eight points and pulling down several rebounds. Evan Means had four points and couple of blocked shots. Lizett Rey closed out the Pirate’s scoring with her 2 points but she contributed greatly on defense forcing several turnovers.
The school and the community are extremely proud of this small group of young ladies who played against a great deal of adversity all year. On two occasions, they finished games with three players on the floor and were forced to play with only four girls to finish games on numerous occasions this year. In all of those situations, except one, the opposing team kept their five players on the floor and often resorted to using the press in an attempt to overcome the hard fighting Pirates.
These Pirates played the entire season with pride and enthusiasm and a never give up attitude against what often appeared to be overwhelming odds. Hold your heads high girls. GO PIRATES!