Perfect end to perfect season

How’s this for pressure? Your basketball team is 25-0 and playing its last game of the season. The score is tied, time has expired, but you’ve got a shooter at the foul line. Who exactly do you want taking that shot? Who can preserve your team’s perfect season? Christie, Iverson, Malone, Kobe? How about 14-year-old Cody Ferris?

An amazing achievement transpired at Pleasant Valley High School during the last few months. The freshman boys’ basketball team went 26-0. This feat, while remarkable in itself, doesn’t begin to describe the year this amazing group of 14- and 15-year-olds experienced. The Vikings beat every team but Red Bluff by double-digit margins.

Going into the final game against Red Bluff, PV was 25-0 and could smell the undefeated season. Red Bluff, which finished in second place during league play and whose only loss had come earlier in the season to the Vikings, could taste upset. Midway through the third quarter, Red Bluff was ahead by 13 points.

That’s when the Vikings’ pressure defense, which had been their bread and butter all year, started to wear Red Bluff down.

“We had a pretty amazing press going,” said Ryan Dunn, a six-foot-one forward/center. “They started to turn the ball over, and we got back into it.” By the time the clock ticked down to zero, PV has worked the score into a tie.

With the game apparently headed into overtime, 6-foot forward Ferris, one of the team’s captains, was fouled. There was no time remaining on the clock. Ferris, who led the team in scoring, assists, steals and free-throws, admitted, “I was freaking out. I had been in a similar situation the year before but nothing like this.”

Still, he calmly stepped to the line. And then the kid with the braces and sheepish expression buried the shot. The rest, as they say, is history.

A salute is in order to the coaches and players who accomplished this feat—something none of them, most likely, will ever forget. Here’s to you, Coach Marlon Gambol, Assistant Coach Chris Kufner, Eric Stofa, J.T. Linnet, Cody Ferris, Lee Carrell, Billy Joe Dibono, Justin Baugh, Brady Grimm, Greg Marskey, Alex Block, Jon Plotnik, Daniel Peterson, Matt Harvey, Daniel Miller, Ryan Dunn, Sebastian Zeno, Jeff Harrington and Blake Danielson.