Bulldogs notch win against No. Sevier


Matt Harris 

Staff writer




GUNNISON—The Bulldogs reversed their fortunes with a quality region win against North Sevier last Friday at home.

Thanks to a stunning performance by Gunnison’s senior Drew Hill, who rode five made three-pointers en route to 25 points on the night, the Gunnison boys basketball team redeemed themselves from an early deficit to pick up their first region victory against the Wolves, 52-42.

” Overall, it was a complete game for us,” head coach Ben Hill said.  “We have struggled the last few games to find our groove.  We started a little slow against the Wolves, but that can mainly be attributed to nerves playing against a rival.  The team responded with a solid second and third quarters to secure the win.”

Hill was electric from start to finish, compensating for the fact that he was one of only four Bulldogs to score in the game. Senior Cole Stewart followed up with 11 points of his own, while senior Gage Mogle and junior Wyatt Young rounded out the offensive effort with eight points each.

” Drew was fantastic offensively,” said Hill. “He was aggressive getting to the rim and took what shots were available from behind the arc.  Overall, our patience and unselfishness contributed to great shots for our team.   It was a solid defensive effort from each member of our team.”

The win for the Bulldogs halts a five-game losing streak, four of them region games. Their 52 points mark the most they have scored in that span.

Gunnison didn’t start out well, conceding the first quarter with a 14-8 deficit that seemed like things weren’t going to change anytime soon for the struggling squad. The next quarter, the Bulldogs turned the tables, outscoring North Sevier 15-8 to take a 23-22 lead into halftime. From there, Gunnison never looked back, outscoring the Wolves in each quarter of the second half to seal the win.

Despite the win, the Bulldogs have plenty of work to do to get back on track in Region 15, as they are currently standing at 1-4 in region play. Next up, they will rematch at home against San Juan, who took the last game against the Bulldogs, 67-48. The game will be tomorrow night at 7 p.m.

Senior Angela Clayton, back from injury for the first time since December, uses her offhand to drive to the basket against Juab last Tuesday, Jan. 17. The Lady Hawks fell to the Lady Wasps, 41-28. - Kyler Daybell / Messenger photo

Senior Angela Clayton, back from injury for the first time since December, uses her offhand to drive to the basket against Juab last Tuesday, Jan. 17. The Lady Hawks fell to the Lady Wasps, 41-28. – Kyler Daybell / Messenger photo

Lady Hawks drop game to Juab, but glad to have starters back in the game


Matt Harris

Staff writer



MT. PLEASANT—It’s easy to get down about losses, but as far as last week’s loss to Juab is concerned, the Lady Hawks have cause for joy.

The North Sanpete girls basketball team saw both of their stars back on the court together for the first time since early December as senior Angela Clayton returned from a shoulder dislocation and junior Catherine Lund appeared fully recovered from a concussion in December. Despite that, the Lady Hawks still struggled against Juab, ranked fifth in 3A, in a 41-28 loss.

The right-handed Clayton, one of North Sanpete’s top scorers, played with her left hand most of the game but still managed to contribute six points, second only to Lund’s eight points. The Hawks collectively shot very well from the charity strip to keep them competitive, going 15 of 19 from the line.

“We are starting to play a lot better,” head coach Randi Griffith said. “We are limiting turnovers and playing better defense, but we are struggling to score.  The team has started taking the right steps to recover. We just have to continue working and focusing on defense and have some confidence on the offensive side of the ball.”

Even though the return of their starters provides some positivity, for now, the struggling Lady Hawks have plenty of work to do to make up for lost time. Now, holders of a nine-game losing streak, the Lady Hawks are 0-3 in region play and face an uphill battle against a tough 3A region with three of the top five teams in the state.

North Sanpete’s homestand continues as they played Canyon View on Tuesday and will be at home against fourth-ranked Carbon tonight at 7 p.m.

Wasatch girls remain undefeated after win over Rowland Hall, 71-30


Matt Harris

Staff writer



SALT LAKE CITY—Times continue to be good for the Lady Tigers, now standing at 6-0 overall for the first time.

The Wasatch Academy girls basketball team posted an easy runaway victory to improve to 2-0 in region play, walloping Rowland Hall, 71-30. The Lady Tigers never gave the Winged Lionesses a chance, leading 44-12 at halftime and only committing a single shooting foul to show off a clean, disciplined defense.

Wasatch boasted three double-digit scorers in the game led by junior Manu Oliviera with 21 points, while junior Mari Zanelatto contributed 18 points and junior Vanessa Medina added another 16. Oliviera is currently averaging an astounding 23.5 points per game.

The Lady Tigers started region play late, but still lead the region even ahead of undefeated Layton Christian Academy. Wasatch holds the lead due to the magnitude of their wins. The Lady Tigers have only had one game that was decided by less than 15 points and have an average margin of victory of 30 points per game.

The Lady Tiger now have a three-game home stand. They played Layton Christian in a battle of the unbeaten on Tuesday (scores next week) and will play against American Prep Academy tonight at 7 p.m.

Hawks surprise Wasps in 47-45 win, clinched with last-second layup


Matt Harris

Staff writer



NEPHI—The sweet taste of victory was even sweeter last week as the Hawks took down rival Juab in an upset win.

A game that was neck-and-neck from start to finish ended with sophomore Shawn Taylor making the biggest two points of the North Sanpete boys basketball season right at the end to seal a 47-45 victory against the Wasps, much to the satisfaction of head coach Cris Hoopes.

“I was really pleased with the fact that our kids kept with what we are doing,” Hoopes said. “I was pleased with the resilience they showed, and we just got enough good breaks to win to get the win.”

Resilience was key in a gripping region rivalry that went into the fourth quarter tied 30-30. The game started slowly on offense as both teams struggled to score. At halftime, it was Juab who had the edge in a sluggish half, 17-15. The tale of two halves flipped the script for both teams right out of the gate in the second half, as North Sanpete led the offensive retaliation by outscoring the Wasps, 32-28.

Taylor’s heroic last-second layup may have stolen the show, but it was only two of a four-point night for the sophomore. Meanwhile, junior Spencer Steadman led all scorers with 19 points, far outpacing the rest.

North Sanpete proved more capable of hitting shots from the field but could never get rid of Juab due to a plethora of free-throw opportunities that the Wasps had. Luckily for the Hawks, Juab only sunk 15 of their 27 shots from the line, while the Hawks went 9-19.

“We’ve got to do a better job of not putting ourselves in that position,” Hoopes said. “I think it’s a necessary thing when teams are fighting hard. Had we made more of our own free throws, we may not have given them much of a chance.”

Although North Sanpete sports a miserable overall 4-12 record, this win puts them in a quality position in region standings at 2-1. The Hawks played last night at Canyon View and will be on the road against Carbon tomorrow night.

Wasatch hits double digits in win against Impact Acadamy


Matt Harris

Staff writer



MT. PLEASANT—The Tigers clearly didn’t want anyone to think their offense was struggling last Friday.

After struggling to score against one of the best teams in the nation last week, the Wasatch Academy boys basketball team made up for it by thumping visiting Impact Academy, Ga., 100-52, one of very few 100-point games seen in Utah this season.

“I was very happy with our effort on both sides of the ball, and we did a great job of sharing the ball on offense,” head coach Curtis Condie said. “Defensively we held IMG to their lowest output. I was very happy with that.”

The Tigers blew the gate off the hinges to start the game by posting a 30-point first quarter en route to a 51-23 lead at halftime and never let up, outscoring the opposition in every quarter and sinking 13 three-pointers as a team.

Junior Emmanuel Akot led all scorers with 22 points, while seniors Jeff Baradziej and Zion Young each added 17. Junior Damion Squire also scored 16 to keep up in the downpour.

With a win against Pleasant Grove High School, Wasatch Academy moved back to No. 1 in Deseret News rankings.

Upcoming, the Tigers have their toughest test yet. They will be traveling to face Chino Hills, Calif. on their home court. Chino Hills is MaxPreps’ No. 1 team in the nation and will be the fourth nationally-ranked team that Wasatch has faced this season. The prior three have resulted in one win, and two losses as Wasatch beat then-unbeaten Lone Peak earlier this season but has dropped contests against Findlay Prep, Nev., and IMG Academies, Fla.

Wasatch will play against Chino Hills this Saturday.

“As we look to play fifth-ranked Chino Hills and their 57 game winning streak,” Condie said, “it should be a fun game, and we look forward to the competition. They have great talent.”

Snow loses first region game to SLCC


Matt Harris

Staff writer



SALT LAKE CITY—The Badger region winning streak ended last week at the hands of its rival.

Uncharacteristic struggling on the offensive end spelled doom for the Snow men’s basketball team, and they suffered their first region loss of the season to rival Salt Lake C.C., 87-79.

The Badgers could never overcome the stifling Bruins’ defense, limiting them to roughly 34 percent shooting for the game, including only 33 percent from three.

“Our offense was slowed down by a good defense,” head coach Rob Nielson said. “We missed some shots that we normally hit. When you shoot as many threes as we do, some nights, they just don’t go in.”

Salt Lake also outrebounded the Badgers 47-38 due to so many missed shots from Snow. The most telling stat of the game, however, may very well have been the deficiency of the Snow bench, which only scored eight points in the entire game. Both sophomore Nate Bruneel and reserve Romain Boxus also fouled during the game.

Freshman Zach Hunsaker and sophomore Riley Panter each scored 18 points to lead the Badgers while sophomore Blake Truman and freshman A.J. Jones each added 13.

The loss moves Salt Lake up into a tie for first place in the Scenic West Athletic Conference with Snow. Both teams are undefeated in conference play against everyone except each other.

“It has been a great start to the year, and we look forward to our next round of games with these teams,” Nielson said. “They are all very good teams and playing [them] as often as we do is a challenge. Our guys played hard and battled, and that is key. The shots will go in for us most of the time.”

The Badgers can still take pride this week in another win against fellow conference power Southern Idaho, 84-79. It is the second time that Snow has beaten CSI this season. The Badgers shot 44 percent from the field and were led by 18-point performances from both Jones and Hunsaker. Bruneel added 17, while Panter added 11. Truman had 12 rebound to go with seven points.

The Badgers are now 16-3 on the season and are ranked No. 21 nationally. They will be away from home tonight against Utah State-Eastern before returning to Ephraim to play Colorado Northwestern this Saturday at 5 p.m.

     Lady Bulldogs completely owned by No. Sevier, 83-28


Matt Harris

Staff writer




SALINA—There’s not much you can say to soften the blow from the beating the Lady Bulldogs took last week against top-ranked North Sevier.

North Sevier toyed with the Gunnison girls basketball team en route to an 83-28 victory that looked to be over before long.

The Lady Bulldogs were outscored 50-13 at halftime and 70-18 at the end of the third. The Lady Wolves, second only to unbeaten Emery in region standings, had their most productive offensive game of their season.

For Gunnison head coach Melissa Sorensen, the dilemma was simple. “We were not mentally prepared to play one of the top teams in the state,” she said.

Gunnison was in the game without its top scorer, sophomore Jaida King, who averages just over seven points per game. Another King took the reigns as sophomore Paige King led with six points in her absence.

Gunnison’s loss makes North Sevier undefeated against teams in Sanpete County, having beaten the Lady Bulldogs and Manti in region, and North Sanpete during the 3A-2A Preview last December.

The divide between region powers and stragglers grows even more. With Emery and North Sevier eyeing the 2A Championship and San Juan keeping up in region play, the Bulldogs are struggling to stay in the region picture.

It’s not over yet for Gunnison. Standing at 2-3 in region play, the Lady Bulldogs will play three games in the next week. After traveling to play at San Juan tomorrow, they will continue on the road against Grand on Saturday. Gunnison beat Grand in their last matchup, 36-35. They then return home to face top-ranked Emery next Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Lady Badger play well, but fail in final game 69-53 against SLCC


Matt Harris

Staff writer



SALT LAKE CITY—Just when there was cause for celebration, the Lady Badgers had their good times halted by a heartbreaking loss to rival Salt Lake.

The Snow women’s basketball team served cold vengeance to Southern Idaho (CSI), who embarrassed the Lady Badgers in their last game, by way of a convincing 69-53 victory to even Snow’s record at 8-8. The good times ended prematurely, however, as rival Salt Lake dashed their hopes of an upset bid with a comeback victory over Snow, 56-50.

The Lady Badgers hoped to make up for their previous outing against CSI and did so in glorious fashion. Snow deconstructed the Lady Eagles’ offense for four quarters, limiting them to roughly 36 percent field goal percentage and a paltry 16 percent from three. Meanwhile, Snow shot 44 percent and made 33 percent of their threes en route to the victory.

“Our practices have been noticeably better, and our players are more focused,” head coach Mike Russell said. “Our team defense has become a major focus, and it’s improved immensely.”

Freshman Lindsay Cook led the Lady Badgers with a very accurate shooting night, going eight of 10 as part of her 17 points. Freshman Harley Hansen played second fiddle with 16 points, while freshman Madison Mooring did her damage from a distance, making three of six three-pointers as part of 11 points on the day.

Good times looked to continue when last Saturday the Lady Badgers faced the rival Salt Lake Lady Bruins. With the Badgers holding a seven-point lead with 5 minutes left to go, it looked as if Snow was going to pull off the unlikely upset over the No. 7 team in the country, but Salt Lake had other plans. Scoring the next 12 points of the game over a four-minute span, Salt Lake rallied while Snow could not get another made basket until the final 40 seconds.

The Lady Badgers never recovered, and Salt Lake remained undefeated in the Scenic West Athletic Conference.

“We believe we can compete with and beat any and every team in our conference, and we have proved that with our recent play,” Russell said. “We controlled the tempo in [Saturday’s] game and really did everything we needed to win, except close out the game.”

Mooring led Snow in scoring, hitting four threes and scoring 14 points in a primarily defensive battle. The Lady Badgers are third in the SWAC at 3-3.

Snow next plays on the road against Utah State-Eastern today, before returning home to play Colorado Northwestern at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Gunnison’s Isaiah O’Neal comes down with the rebound against Manti’s Sam Benson. The two seniors faced off in the high-energy rivalry game between the two schools, with Manti coming out on top, 54-33. - Robert Stevens / Messenger photo

Gunnison’s Isaiah O’Neal comes down with the rebound against Manti’s Sam Benson. The two seniors faced off in the high-energy rivalry game between the two schools, with Manti coming out on top, 54-33. – Robert Stevens / Messenger photo

[Read more…]

Junior Brock Bailey turns away from the paint to extend this play against Richfield last Friday, part of a narrow victory for the Hawks. - Kyler Daybell / Messenger photo

Junior Brock Bailey turns away from the paint to extend this play against Richfield last Friday, part of a narrow victory for the Hawks. – Kyler Daybell / Messenger photo

[Read more…]

Snow Freshman Harley Hansen was named the SWAC Player of the Week following tremendous performances last week against Colorado Northwestern and USU-Eastern.

Snow Freshman Harley Hansen was named the SWAC Player of the Week following tremendous performances last week against Colorado Northwestern and USU-Eastern.


[Read more…]

Snow basketball team sporting No. 25 national ranking following four wins


Matt Harris 

Staff writer



EPHRAIM— The Snow College men’s basketball team has made it clear to all that they are not going anywhere.

Now standing at No. 25 in NJCAA polls, Snow followed up their 2-0 start in Scenic West play with a 96-64 dismemberment of Colorado Northwestern and held on at home against Utah State-Eastern to win 86-79 and make it four in a row.

Riding high from two wins over ranked opponents, Snow never gave up a lead after the first ten seconds of the game and led by as much as 37 points in the second half.

Freshman Zach Hunsaker led all scorers with 25 points, while sophomore Riley Panter added 20. Sophomore Nate Bruneel also contributed 14 points, and Romain Boxus added 15 from the bench.

Against USU-Eastern, the final score served only to blur the reality of how Snow dominated in the game. Snow led by as many as 20 points in the game and consistently held a double-digit lead over the Golden Eagles throughout the game. Foul trouble late in the second half led to a comeback effort by USU-Eastern, whose starting point guard, Quinn Peters, played every minute of the entire game, totaling 26 points. Hunsaker was the only Badger to foul out, occurring late in the second half.

Snow successfully held off the resurgent Golden Eagles thanks to a scoring balance between Bruneel, Hunsaker, Panter, and freshman guard A.J. Jones, scoring 19, 16, 15, and 15 points, respectively. Bruneel also had nine rebounds to lead the team, four of them coming offensively. Jones nearly had a double-double of his own with nine assists.

The wins all but guarantee that the Badgers will continue to move up in the rankings, but head coach Rob Nielson remains honed in with his team on continuing their success. “It’s a long road, and we have to keep focused,” Nielson says. “The team plays well together, and it is nice to be ranked, but it just makes people play harder against us.”

Shooting from distance, and forcing opponents to respect it, is playing a big part of the Badgers’ success. Averaging 42.5 percent from three, they are seventh in the nation in that category.

Snow hosts Southern Idaho tonight at 7:30 p.m. before traveling to play Salt Lake this Saturday.

Lady Hawks lose eight straight, still looking for first region win


Matt Harris

Staff writer



MT. PLEASANT—The losing streak now comes to eight in a row for the struggling North Sanpete Lady Hawks.

North Sanpete dropped two games over last week to make it a month since their last victory. Both Carbon and Richfield ignominiously hammered the Lady Hawks, 60-21 and 42-16, respectively. North Sanpete now stands at 4-11 overall with a 0-2 record in region play.

Neither game was ever within striking distance for North Sanpete. The Lady Hawks are not getting much to go their way since a rash of injuries caused missed time for many of the Hawks starters. As a result, they have been held under 30 points in five of their last six games and rarely have a player score over 10 points in a game.

With the continuing dominance of Carbon and Richfield this season (Carbon is ranked No. 17 in Utah’s top 20), the Lady Hawks are facing a grim outlook in upcoming region play and may be fighting with Canyon View, also 4-11 on their season so far, just to stay out of last place.

North Sanpete hosted Juab Tuesday (score next week), and they will play at home again next Tuesday at 7 p.m. when Canyon View comes to town.

Lady Bulldogs slug way to win over Manti


Matt Harris

Staff writer



GUNNISON—It was ugly, slow and painful but for the Gunnison High Lady Bulldogs, their rivalry match against Manti last week was a win.

In a game that featured 59 free throw attempts between the two teams, Gunnison took advantage of good foul shooting to down Manti at home, 38-29. Gunnison shot 25 of 38 from the charity stripe to compensate for only six made shots during regulation time.

The Lady Bulldogs’ scoring leader was sophomore Jaida King, who totaled 13 points to lead all scorers. The Lady Bulldogs held a steady lead over the Lady Templars from beginning to end.

While the foul-fest resulted in the majority of Gunnison’s offensive output, Manti could never take advantage despite 21 opportunities of their own, hitting only seven of their attempts.

Templar senior Leah Howe led her team with 10 points and was also efficient on the defensive end with five steals.

Take out the foul shots, and this game would have ended, 22-13, in Manti’s favor.

The actual result puts Gunnison in fourth place in region 15 standings at 2-2, 5-10 overall. They have won three of their last five after a six-game losing streak. Defense will need to step up to keep Gunnison riding solidly, as no other team in the region has allowed more points so far this season (181).

Manti now drops to last place in region standings with a 0-2 region record, 1-12 overall. The Lady Templars have not topped 30 points once in their last eight contests.

Gunnison will travel to play North Sevier tonight at 7 p.m.

Manti played North Sevier on Tuesday (score unavailable) and will host San Juan tomorrow night at 7 p.m.

Winning Tigers fall short with loss to top-ranked Florida team 61-51


Matt Harris

Staff writer



SPRINGFIELD, MA—Performing admirably on their biggest stage this season, the Wasatch Academy boys basketball team fell short of the win at the Spalding HoopHall Classic.

Playing at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Tigers faced their toughest opponent of the season in nationally-ranked IMG Academy, Fla. An early deficit found Wasatch in unfamiliar territory, and the Tigers could never fully recover in a 61-51 loss.

51 is the Tigers’ lowest point total of the season.

Junior Emmanuel Akot led the Tigers with 19 points, four threes, and seven rebounds. Senior Josip Vrankic also chipped in 12 points. Both players are averaging over 16 points per game this season.

Prior to their matchup at the Classic, Wasatch played a nearby opponent, Commonwealth Academy, to compensate for a lost game in the schedule. The Tigers were unable to make the trip to Harcum College in Pennsylvania for their invitational. Wasatch beat the Cougars, 65-50. Stats were unavailable for the game.

Wasatch is next headed to North Carolina to play against Princeton Hall School in Charlotte. They will then head to California for their matchup against Chino Hills, MaxPreps’ No. 1 team in the country. The Tigers will next play at home against Layton Christian on Saturday, Feb. 4.


All Utah schools affected by sports realignments, in effect next school year


Matt Harris

Staff writer



The Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) has finally completed sweeping changes across the map for all high school sports.

Lines have been redrawn, schools have been reclassified and UHSAA has even introduced a brand new 6A classification for more densely populated high schools in northern Utah. While North Sanpete, Manti, and Gunnison Valley High Schools are certainly not affected by the latter of these changes, the changes in regions have created a stir.

Statewide, moves being considered by UHSAA were meeting with controversy and backlash from different school administrators. Nan Ault, principal of North Sanpete High, was one of many Utah school administrators who said they felt that their school’s needs were being ignored.

Eventually, the UHSAA ultimately decided that there would never be a way to please everyone and went forward with the changes most agreed upon.

Region updates are as follows and will be in effect starting the beginning of the 2017-18 season.



North Sanpete

The Hawks will be in 3A Region 15. Unfortunately, the traditional rivals of North Sanpete, Delta and Juab, were placed in Region 14. Region 15 also includes Emery, Grand County, Manti, Richfield, South Sevier, and San Juan.

In football, North Sanpete is the 3A South region which includes Juab, Juan Diego, Manti, Richfield, and now, Summit Academy. Summit moved up from 2A Region 18.




The Templars have moved up to 3A in all sports as of next year, rather than their “football-only” standing. They will be joining North Sanpete in Region 15 and the 3A South football region.




Gunnison will remain as a 2A school in all sports in Region 18. They are joined by Beaver, Enterprise, Kanab, Millard, North Sevier, and Parowan, who have moved up from 1A.

In football, Gunnison will play in the 2A North region, along with American Leadership Academy, Delta (which dropped from 3A), Millard, North Summit and South Summit.

Among many other things affected by the changes, North Sanpete’s travel time for football was substantially increased. Administrators for North Sanpete reported that they plan to try and consolidate events for their sports teams to use fewer buses and, therefore, less fuel.

More development will take place over the coming year as principals and boards seek to make the changes work to their best advantage.