Sunday, December 21, 2008

Is Granger for real?

On Friday night, I noticed that the Granger Lancers upset the Jordan Beetdiggers in the first round of Jordan's "holiday" tournament. That struck me as the biggest upset of the day.

I like upsets. It makes sports interesting. That's why I closely monitor the NCAA basketball tournament and I relish watching games like Boise State-Oklahoma. It's nice when the little guy wins once in a while.

I went to Jordan the next day because I wanted to see if Granger was for real. I watched the end of the Lehi-Jordan game, and then all of the Granger-Riverton contest, which was to be for the tournament championship.

Here are some things I noticed:

* - The guy who runs the show for Lehi is Jacob Obiamo. I would like to see Lehi be successful because the deck seems stacked against them in Region 4. The Pioneers had a tough football season, and it's great to see them win. Without Obiamo, they wouldn't be. He ran the offense and, in the final seconds, he was the guy with the ball. He made some nice moves, then flipped it to his center for a layup and the 60-58 victory.

* - Granger was a disappointment. The Lancers don't know how to play team basketball. They have a lot of athletic ability, but Riverton schooled them. The Silverwolves are 8-0 because they play team ball. Granger's first four shots were from three-point land. They ran plays only after timeouts. Then it back to playing one-on-one basketball. Tre Musgrow is about the only guy who can do that with any success.

* - One of Granger's other good players - T.J. Tapusoa - was given a lesson. It's questionable whether he learned it or not. Tapusoa hit the game-winning three-pointer to beat Jordan the night before. Against Riverton, he hit another three to start the game, but then it went to his head. As the clock was winding down in the first quarter, he got the ball. He tried to dazzle the crowd with his dribbling, then he went for the shot. Everyone knew it, including Riverton. Three guys converged on him and his shot was blocked. There might have been a foul, but it doesn't matter. Tapusoa got upset, and got a technical. He sat on the bench for several minutes of the second quarter. When he got into the game again, he was whistled for a foul and mouthed off to the ref (again). He was ejected.

* - Granger needs to sit down and watch "Hoosiers." Granger could win Region 6, or finish last. It's up to them. Play the game like it's supposed to be played guys, and you will be successful. Riverton won 55-35.

* - The fan support for the games I watched was dismal. Jordan has a beautiful gym, but the thing I noticed the most was the lack of student support. During the Riverton-Granger game, I noticed six Riverton students making noise. That's all. But I didn't see any Granger students. Maybe they were there, but they were silent.

* - What's the story with the Jordan holiday tournament? What's the purpose of it? I like the idea of holiday tournaments, but it's missing something. It's missing student support, of course. I'd like to talk to Jordan athletic director Marc Hunter and see what can be done to make it better.

* - Riverton's Scott Friel is fun to watch. He's a good, but not great, player who just does everything to help his team win. He was the tourney's MVP, and he deserved it. He has the size and skills to help his team. He's the primary reason Riverton is 8-0.

Since I was at the game, I kept detailed statistics. Here is my box score:

Granger 5 12 6 12 - 35
Riverton 13 15 11 16 - 55

GRANGER (55) - Thorup 0-3 0-0 0, Musgrow 2-9 8-12 12, Scott 1-5 2-3 5, Tapusoa 2-5 0-0 5, Koyom 1-8 1-2 3, Ulugia 0-1 3-4 3, Caputo 1-2 90-0 2, Algic 1-1 0-2 3, Daniels 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 9-35 14-23 35.

RIVERTON (55) - M. Trujillo 1-3 4-4 7, Friel 5-10 1-1 11, Neilson 2-5 4-6 8, Valdez 0-1 3-4 3, Thomas 3-8 0-1 6, Gunderstrup 4-6 1-1 9, Tanner 2-2 2-4 6, A. Trujillo 0-1 1-2 1, Peterson 1-1 0-0 3, Gamblin 1-1 0-1 2. Totals: 19-38 15-22 55.

Total fouls: Granger 17, Riverton 16. Fouled out: None. Technicals: Tapusoa 2 (ejected). Rebounds: Riverton 30 (Friel, Thomas 7). Granger 24 (Koyom 7, Thorup 6). 3-point shots: Granger 3-9 (Scott, Tapusoa, Algic), Riverton 2-6 (M. Trujillo, Peterson). Turnovers: Granger 16, Riverton 13.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

West Jordan-Brighton game recap

I try to attend as many high school sporting events as possible. This weekend, I chose to go to the West Jordan vs. Brighton basketball game?

Why? The Deseret News has West Jordan ranked No. 1 among 5A schools. Also, I view Brighton as an up-and-coming team, even though the Bengals are in last place in their region.

It was a great game. It was a good atmmosphere. West Jordan had its gym "open." The facility itself is huge. It has three basketball courts. They can close them off, but they didn't Friday night. It's a great facility, and eliminates the scheduling problem of all the groups that need gym time.

West Jordan beat Brighton 58-49. Jordan Weirick scored 21 points, and he and D.J. Tialavea controlled the rebounds in the second half as the Jaguars rallied for the victory.

Brighton jumped on the Jags early in the game, taking an 18-10 first-quarter lead and 33-25 at halftime. At the start of the third quarter, West Jordan got back into it, tying it 40-40 and never looking back.

Here are some things I noticed:

* - West Jordan may be No. 1 by the Deseret News, but have a ways to go. Brighton outplayed the Jags in the first half with crisp passing. The Bengals hit 14-25 shots in the first half, primarily due to its passing.

* - West Jordan played like a championship team in the second half. Weirick was a star on both offense and defense, but the real key might have been Reyes Gallegos. He had an "off" night offensively, only scoring 10 points. But he had to guard Brighton's Corbin Miller. The sophomore guard hit three treys in the first half, but then Gallegos pressured him into moving further away in the second half, and he was never the same.

* - Early in the second half, Miller threw up an air ball from way past the three-point line. The Jaguars' fans really got on him, and I think that made a difference. He was not the same player. Miller may eventually become all-state, but if he wants the attention, he has to accept what might happen. Gallegos won this battle.

* - Where were the Brighton fans? The only noise I heard - and I was sitting in the Brighton cheering section - was from the home (West Jordan) crowd. Even though you're in an opponents gym, you can still cheer for your team. I also saw few Brighton students ... only adults.

* - West Jordan has four great players - Weirich, Gallegos and potentially Tyler Holt and Mason Sawyer. Tialavea can rebound, but he doesn't seem to understand the game. Who does West Jordan go to when they need points? Weirich had 21 points, and Gallegos took control a few times ... but there didn't seem to be a clear leader.

* - Sam Wunderli is Brighton's best player. He scored 15 points and had nine rebounds on this night, and was a pleasure to watch. He was always in the middle of things. Miller has potential (he had four three-pointers for 12 points), but he's the only outside threat. Brighton's point guard, Neil Richards, is not a scorer, and that means both opponent guard can focus on Miller on the perimeter. Someone ... and someone big (like perhaps Moses Lotulelei) needs to come outside and set screens for Miller, so he can score. Miller can potentially change games with his shooting. The kid is for real.

I was able to keep detailed statistics during the game. Here they are:

Brighton 18 15 9 7 - 49
West Jordan 10 15 22 11 - 58

BRIGHTON (49) - Richards 0-1 0-0 0, Cannon 3-10 2-8 8, Miller 4-12 0-0 12, Wunderli 7-11 1-2 15, Ricketts 2-3 0-0 4, Hudson 2-2 0-0 4, Lotulelei 2-2 0-1 4, Barker 1-4 0-0 2, Masina 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-45 3-11 49.

WEST JORDAN (58) - Sawyer 2-13 2-2 7, Weirick 7-12 6-6 21, Holt 5-6 1-2 11, Gallegos 3-8 2-4 10, Udy 2-7 0-0 4, Tialavea 2-3 0-0 4, Herrin 0-1 0-0 0, Knighton 0-1 0-0 0, Ashton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-51 12-16 58.

Total fouls: Brighton 19, West Jordan 12. Fouled out: None. Three-point shooting: Brighton 4-13 (Miller 4), West Jordan 4-10 (Gallegos 2, Weirick, Sawyer). Rebounds: Brighton 30 (Wunderli 9), West Jordan 33 (Tialavea 9, Weirick 8). Turnovers: Brighton 17, West Jordan 18.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cottonwood-Hillcrest great game recap

I attended the Cottonwood vs. Hillcrest basketball game last night. The reason? It was at Cottonwood, which was a convenient location, and this game is a good rivalry on the hardwood.

I wanted to go to a game that involved both schools where I handle game programs. I also felt the local media would not cover it (it wasn't a marquee game on the schedule), and it turns out I was correct.

It was a great game, too. Hillcrest won 55-50. There was a near melee with 6:03 left in the game, and Cottonwood's Alo Moli and an assistant coach were ejected.

Frankly, I agreed with the referee's decision. Moli and Hillcrest's Kyle Maughan got tangled up on a rebound and Moli seemed to take Maughan down. He also swung one of his arms, which could be viewed as a punch. One of the players - Maughan or Moli - was also grabbing the other's uniform and that contributed to both players hitting the floor.

I can't really fault the Cottonwood assistant. He ran out onto the court to get two of his players away from the melee. He never contributed to the incident, and was only trying to help end it. After Moli and Maughan went down, the referees blew their whistles and were trying to separate them. At the same time, players were running toward the scene and it could have been violent.

The game was close, and both teams were feeling the pressure. Hillcrest might also have become a bit frustrated because Cottonwood had the momentum - and the lead - at the same. Hillcrest had led most of the game.

I was sitting above the Cottonwood bench at the time, and the Colts coach - Dave McConnell - knew immediately that his assistant would be ejected. He confronted his assistant immediately and informed him that he was not allowed to the leave the bench area, regardless of what happened the court.

The result? Moli and the assistant was ejected. Moli was also given a flagrant foul. Unlike the assistant, though, he stayed on the bench. Moli is a gifted athlete, but was not a factor in this game. He never got a chance after the melee. I hope he learned his lesson.

Maughan went to the line and hit 1-of-2 free throws. The Huskies then got four more free shots (for the technical on Moli and the assistant) and Jeremy Ulrich nailed all of them.

Hillcrest then got the ball back and hit a basket, which turned into a 38-31 lead, which they never relinquished.

It's sad that the memory of this game will be that near-melee. At least the fans stayed in their places. Cottonwood principal Garett Muse, who was still dressed in a suit, and assistant principal Mitch Nerdin stayed in front of the Colts' loudest fans to make sure they didn't leave their spot.

Additional police were called, and they were placed near the Hillcrest fans, but they weren't needed. This matter DID NOT get out of hand. The referees handled it well, as did the Cottonwood hierarchy.

After about a 10-minute delay, the game restarted and was very entertaining. It was a good win for Hillcrest.

I have to congratulate both coaches. They showed their smarts in this game.

* - For Cottonwood, coach McConnell recognized early that Hillcrest was slowing the game and that would not benefit his team. The score was just 6-5 late in the first quarter. He sped it up by extending his defense to midcourt, then put in full-court pressure. Hillcrest didn't handle it well many times and it resulted in 26 turnovers.

* - For Hillcrest, coach Brad Tingey recognized McConnell's move and placed his best player, Maughan, on the perimeter (inside of down low), so his guards had a player who could catch a pass, break the press and take pressure off the guards. Tingey also called key timeouts late in the game when Hillcrest was having trouble breaking the press. That likely prevented two turnovers and additional Cottonwood points. I believe the Huskies score after each case, too.

In the last month, I have developed a new statistical sheet and I put it to use for the first time Friday night. Here are my unofficial statistics, but everything adds up correctly.

Hillcrest 6 15 11 23 - 55
Cottonwood 8 11 12 19 - 50

HILLCREST (55) - Dallimore 1-5 6-10 8, Maughan 4-5 10-17 18, Jackson 2-5 0-0 5, Blackmore 1-5 3-4 5, Jongejan 1-4 0-0 2, Ulrich 2-4 6-6 12, Lao 1-4 2-4 4. Totals 12-32 28-43 55.

COTTONWOOD (50) - Glen 0-2 1-4 1, Chavez 4-9 2-2 13, Lundquist 1-3 2-3 4, Nelson 4-9 0-0 8, Moli 1-4 2-4 4, Lundquist 1-2 0-0 2, Reynolds 3-7 4-6 10, Baricic 1-3 0-2 2, Ziegler 3-3 0-0 6. Totals 18-42 11-21 50.

Total fouls: Hillcrest 16, Cottonwood 25. Fouled out: Reynolds. Rebounds: Hillcrest 31 (Lao 9, Blackmore 8), Cottonwood 24 (Komenda 5). Turnovers: Hillcrest 26, Cottonwood 19. 3-point shooting: Hillcrest 3-10 (Ulrich 2, Jackson). Cottonwood 3-12 (Chavez 3).

About Me

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I am the author of Matchup, which provides yearbooks to high school sports teams, commemorating their seasons.