Last week Gridley Head Coach Nathan Link released a newsletter to the Gridley Unified School District and the various local media outlets.
In sum, it explained the “ups and downs” the Bulldogs had faced in the latter part of their 2013-2014 seasons. But the letter also implied that hope was not lost.
After starting out league play with a perfect 4-0, Gridley lost their first BVL contest in a blowout to the reigning BVL champs, Orland. Following the loss, Gridley went blow for blow with the Huskies from Sutter, only to lose the game 40-39 in the final seconds.
Link explained how the boys were crushed, thinking their shot at a league title was over.
But after a solid 63-43 victory over Winters, the boys decided, league champs or not, they would not give up hope.
Be it divine intervention, or just plain luck, the odds began shifting in Gridley’s favor.
Despite the heartbreaking loss to the Huskies, Sutter granted the Bulldogs a huge favor. Feeding off the momentum from their win over Gridley, Sutter pulled out a win over Orland in their following game.
The favor? This meant all Gridley had to do was win their final game against Wheatland and they could still tie Orland for first place.
However, on Tuesday night—the same night Gridley took out Winters—Wheatland decided to help the Bulldogs out as well. Wheatland handed the Trojans their third BVL loss of the season, creating a two-scenario situation for who would wear the Butte View League Crown.
Both Sutter and Orland were tied with a league record of 5-3. But Wheatland, at 4-3, had a chance to also go 5-3 in BVL play if they handed Gridley a loss on Friday night. Since Gridley sat at 5-2, a loss would also bring them to 5-3. Thus, the first of two scenarios would have created a four-way tie for first in the BVL.
Winters, the fifth BVL team, went 0-8 in conference play.
But, from the beginning of the season, the Bulldogs have applied a single motto to this season: “Don’t be satisfied.”
A win on Friday would have brought their conference record to 6-2, and the sole Butte View League Champion. And that’s exactly what they did.
Despite trailing 14-11 at the start of the second after Wheatland went on an 8-0, Gridley outscored the Pirates 21-6 before the half to put the game at 32-20 at the break. Sophomore Sam Cota scored 10 of his game-high 17 points in the second quarter.
The third quarter was all Shobi Khan. The senior put up 10 of his 15 points in the third quarter during senior night, as the Bulldogs extended their lead to 51-32 heading into the final period.
The Pirates tried to come back in the last quarter, but there was not enough time to recover from the deficit. Gridley picked up a 67-50 victory and their first Butte View League Championship since the 09-10 season on a night to honor their seniors.
Cota led with 17 points, while Quinn Spring had 16.
Khan scored 15 points while grabbing 11 boards and three steals for the Bulldogs, who earned the No.2-seed in the Division II post-season and a first round bye.
They will play the winner of the matchup between Willows and Anderson on February 28 at Farmer’s Hall.