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Senior center Isaiah O’Neal easily took this assist to the basket for two against West Desert in part two of Gunnison High’s Danny Hill Invitational last week.

Senior center Isaiah O’Neal easily took this assist to the basket for two against West Desert in part two of Gunnison High’s Danny Hill Invitational last week.

Bulldogs host Danny Hill Invitational, clean up

 

By Matt Harris

Staff writer

12-22-2016

 

GUNNISON—With only one loss so far on the season, the Gunnison boys basketball team is beginning to make their presence in 2A known.

The Bulldogs brought Utah Military Prep and West Desert onto their home court and trounced them both at the Danny Hill Invitational last Friday and Saturday, winning 79-34 and 67-32, respectively.

Prior to the invitational, Gunnison made a statement once again about their ability to win close games with a win against American Leadership Academy (ALA).

In this 54-52 win against ALA, it came right down to the buzzer.

The Bulldogs and the Eagles were neck and neck the entire game, neither being able to pull away from the other. Though Gunnison had a three-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter, the Eagles held a late lead on the Bulldogs that looked like it would stay. In the final seconds, senior guard Cole Stewart came through for Gunnison, making his final shot, a game-ending three-pointer, count for the win.

Stewart led all scorers with 19 points. Five different players hit at least one three for the Bulldogs.

With the invitational, even Gunnison Head Coach Ben Hill knew the Bulldogs would immediately outmatch their opponents, but both wins looked impressive nonetheless.

“The games this weekend were great experience for our underclassmen,” Hill said. “We were able to get everyone on the court, playing meaningful minutes. In preseason matchups, it’s mainly about individual player development and improving our schemes on offense and defense. It is a time to tinker with different lineups and personnel.  All four games this weekend (JV and Varsity) afforded us the opportunity to see a lot of different looks.”

The Bulldogs got more than enough looks. Against Utah Military, Stewart led the Bulldogs in scoring again with 16, but he was one of four different Bulldogs in double figures on the day. Fellow seniors Drew Hill, Gage Mogle, and Isaiah O’Neal, also scored 14, 13, and 10 points, respectively.

Against West Desert, Gunnison spread the scoring around their team more evenly, and not one of the Bulldogs ended the night in double figures despite a 67-point offensive outing. Nonetheless, Gunnison defended well and forced turnovers against the inexperienced Hawks.

“The most important takeaway from the weekend is our boys had a great time on the court together,” Hill said.

Gunnison played at Millard yesterday (score unavailable) and will host Juab next Wednesday at 7 p.m. Next weekend, the Bulldogs take part in the Cowboy Classic in Kanab, first taking on Beaver Dam, Ariz. on Thursday. Their second opponent is yet to be determined.