Burrell boys basketball team blasts Valley

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 10:48 p.m.

It was a night to end losing streaks for the Burrell boys basketball team.

Not only did Burrell halt a four-game losing streak Wednesday night with a 61-38 nonsection road victory over Valley, but the Bucs ended an eight-game skid over the neighboring Vikings.

It was the first Burrell win in the series since Dec. 2, 2005. Burrell (10-6) equaled its win total from last season. Valley dropped to 3-12 overall.

Pete Spagnolo led the Bucs with 15 points, five rebounds and five assists. Cole Bush pulled down seven rebounds. Sophomore Joey Cox came off the bench to score 14, including four 3-pointers.

“It's a long basketball season,” Burrell coach Rob Neiderberger said. “You're not going to have your best game, mentally. You learn from it and you move on, and there's nothing like coming out and beating your biggest rival.”

The Bucs jumped out to a 16-2 first quarter lead against the undermanned Vikings. Valley played without several starters, including senior Chaz Cheatham, who's out with a fractured wrist.

“Undermanned, undersized and undertalented,” Vikings coach Phil Cope said. “With the inside strength they have at the positions, they force you into a shot and they do an excellent job with rebounds.”

Cox had another solid effort for the Bucs, providing offense whenever he gets the call.

“We see that every day in practice with Joey,” Neiderberger said. “On a senior-laden team, Joey doesn't get all the publicity. He's been double digits about four times this year. You have Joey and (Ryan) Puchak; they're like sixth starters for us.”

“JV helps me mentally prepare getting ready for varsity,” Cox said. “The rest of the team really helps me. I play half the JV game, then I stretch and get ready for varsity.”

Cox had back-to-back 3-pointers in the second period as Burrell pulled ahead, 26-7.

Valley came alive in the fourth period. Jonathan Gunnermade two 3-pointers in the first minute of the final quarter. Jason Carter scored his 10 points in the fourth quarter.

The Vikings have dropped five straight.

“With any rut, you're going to have to continue to put forth effort,” Cope said. “Without that effort, you're always going to struggle. We're undermanned through injuries and ineligibilities, but in turn, it's another opportunity for kids to play, and people have to grasp that moment and continue to work hard.”

Even though it was a nonsection game, it was important for the Bucs.

“Coach stressed the entire week that we haven't beaten them since 2005, and a win like this can help us get into the playoffs,” Cox said.

George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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