Sandy Valley gets first win in 1A league

Sandy Valley boys basketball coach Brian Kahre didn’t want to leave the court Saturday.

“I might just stay out here and soak it in,” he said, raising his arms in triumph.

Senior center Patrick Hartung had 19 points and 24 rebounds, and the host Sidewinders held on to defeat Lund 52-50 for the first Class 1A Southern League victory in program history.

Sandy Valley, located about 50 miles southwest of Las Vegas in rural Clark County, came in with an all-time league record of 0-17. The school opened three years ago, but didn’t become a league member until last season.

Hartung’s three-point play gave Sandy Valley (2-10, 1-7) a 48-47 lead in the final two minutes. Lund had taken a four-point lead with a 17-6 run in the fourth quarter, but Sandy Valley closed with a 9-3 spurt.

Until two days before the season, the Sidewinders had no home gym. They practiced on playground blacktop or in a multipurpose room that Kahre said “kind of has a halfcourt in it.”

The team now plays in a facility the school takes pride in, but one that looks more like an airplane hangar than a high school gym. The win was Sandy Valley’s first in the facility, which features a weatherized canvas for a roof.

“You see that in a lot of these small towns,” Kahre said. “You’ve got these kids who don’t have a lot, they have to overcome a lot, and they just keep pushing.”

Sandy Valley has pushed through a season in which its seven league losses all have been by more than 30 points.

“It’s been pretty hard because we’ve had some really bad losses,” Hartung said. “We just had to keep looking toward the next game and hope we could do better each time.”

Nathan Plaza contributed 17 points and three steals for the Sidewinders.

Sandy Valley opened three years ago with a high school enrollment of 44 students, principal Mark Jones said. Most had never played organized basketball. There are now about 100 students.

Jones said it’s doubtful Sandy Valley will be able to build a conventional gym in the near future because of financial woes in the Clark County School District and the economy in general.

But the Sidewinders are glad to have any sort of gym to play in after having to bus to Las Vegas to play “home” games at Tarkanian Middle School last season.

“It’s fun to have something like this,” Kahre said. “It’s bringing our community together.”

Contact reporter Tristan Aird at taird@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203.

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