[Read more…]

Badgers have dismal showing, fall to Arizona Western 79-93

 

By James Tilson

 

03-13-2019

 

YUMA, Ariz.—With a trip to the NJCAA National Tournament hanging in the balance, the Snow College men’s basketball team played one of its worst halves of the year before going down to defeat to Arizona Western College, 79-93.

“They played really well,” said Head Coach Rob Neilson of the AWC Matadors. “We weren’t ready in the first half for their energy, and we had way too many turnovers. By the time we tried to mount a comeback in the second half, it was too little, too late.”

Even though turnovers were a big part of a bad first half for the Badgers, it was their poor shooting that did them in. The Badgers shot 9-32 from the field for 28 percent, and 2-9 from behind the arc, in the first half against AWC. While Snow held a height advantage on paper, the Matador defense quickly established itself and denied Snow any easy shots.

While Snow was having a horrendous shooting night, AWC stars Alphonso Plumber and Cash Williams could not be stopped. The Matadors shot 45 percent in the first half.

Snow’s bad first half was compounded when guard Jake Walker, the Badger’s leading scorer, went down with an ankle injury with about five minutes left in the half. “We really missed him in the second half,” said Neilson.

By the end of the first half, AWC had nearly doubled Snow’s score, leading 25-43.

In the second half, Snow and AWC traded baskets until about the 10-minute mark, when the Badgers finally began to find their shooting touch. It seemed the Matadors high-energy defense had finally gotten a little tired, because Snow’s shooters finally got some space and started hitting 3-point shots.

By the five-minute mark left in the second half, Snow had gotten the deficit back down to single-digits, 70-79. But that was the closest Snow would get for the rest of the game.

Snow finished the year at 26-7, winning the regular season Scenic West Athletic Conference Title, as well as the Region 18 Tournament. “We really had a great year,” said Neilson. “This is the first time our team has gotten a chance to compete for a national tournament bid since 1970.”

By losing to AWC in the District I playoff, Snow missed out on the automatic bid that went to the winner. There was still a chance Snow could have been awarded an at-large bid to the national tournament, as Snow was ranked at No. 16 in the last regular season poll, but on Monday the Badgers were left out of the field of 24 teams.

Many Sanpete athletes are named to Academic All-State for winter sports

 

By Benjamin Thornberg

 

03-13-2019

 

The Utah High School Activity Association (UHSAA) recently presented the winners for the 2018-2019 Academic All-State awards for winter sports and activities.

The Academic All-State award is given to seniors who not only achieve good grades in academics, but also excel in a certain sport or activity like music or drama. 

It is the highest award the UHSAA gives to high school seniors who show promise and achieve success beyond expectation.

Gunnison Valley

Gunnison Valley High School had four seniors who received the award. They are: Caden Madsen, who competed for the wrestling team; Jasmine Carter, who was a participant in both drama and music; Julie Snyder who was a member of the music team; and Ethan Hammond who was a part of the music group.

North Sanpete

North Sanpete High School had four award winners as well. Linzy Flinders from the girls’ basketball team, Tyler Hadley from the boys’ basketball team, Nicholas Honey on the debate team as well as music activities, and Elisabeth Anderson, who belonged to the drama and music groups, were all award winners.

Manti High

And from Manti High School, three students received the honor. They are: Mason Thompson on the boys’ basketball team, Anna Allred as part of the girls’ basketball team and Andrew Olsen in music.

Baseball, softball preview – teams hopeful for titles

 

By Matt Harris

 

03-13-2019

 

As the snow melts off the fields of schoolyard diamonds, the nylon swishes and whistles of referees give way as athletes make their way back into the sun.

Spring sports have arrived, and if last year is any indication, this is Sanpete’s time to shine.

Baseball, softball and boys’ soccer began their seasons last week for North Sanpete, Manti and Gunnison Valley high schools. The promise of new heights reached, and a crown to defend in Gunnison’s case, motivate each of our local teams to put their best foot forward as the Sanpete valley becomes green once again.

 

BASEBALL

 

North Sanpete

            It wasn’t so long ago that the Hawks were a struggling baseball squad trying their best to stay relevant among the contenders of Central Utah. Times have changed under Head Coach Dan Christensen and there’s plenty of ground left to cover.

North Sanpete baseball turned a monumental corner last season by simultaneously posting a winning record in the regular season and making the postseason tournament for the first time in 15 years. The Hawks also posted 12 wins in the regular season, the most regular season wins of any Hawks team since before the turn of the millennium, according to Deseret News archives.

“We just keep working hard trying to improve the program,” Christensen said candidly. “We’re not doing anything, you know, out of the ordinary, just working hard…We just do the best we can with what players we have.”

In the last three years, North Sanpete increased their season win total from three to seven to 12, despite turnover in players graduating. The Hawks deal with the departure of five seniors, notably longtime key players Shawn Taylor and Keegan Eliason.

Christensen shows a great deal of faith in great things to come, particularly the seniors showing up in the outfield.

Still playing in Region 15, North Sanpete plays a tough baseball region, particularly Richfield and Grand. “All the teams in our region are pretty decent baseball schools,” Christensen said. “We’ll see tough competition all the way through.”

Pitching remains a question mark for the Hawks this year, Christensen said, with Zane Tibbs being the predicted starter in his senior season. On the batting side, seniors Tyler Hadley and David Serba project to bring the hitting power.

Last week, the Hawks posted a 1-0 record to start the season with a wild win over rival Delta, 13-5, in 14 innings. The leftover winter of the Sanpete valley led to the Delta visit being the first time the Hawks would practice outside this season, Christensen said.

After the first seven innings ended with a 3-3 tie, the Hawks pulled ahead 5-3 before getting tied up by Delta in the 13th inning. Then, the Hawk bats stormed to life out of nowhere to shut the game down with an eight-run inning.

North Sanpete is scheduled to play in the Chuckwagon Classic in Kanab this weekend with games against Beaver, Kanab, Enterprise, and a rematch against Delta.

 

Manti

            When all was said and done, the Templars 10-16 record in 2018 may not look spectacular, but their success was well-timed.

Opening day-starter Trevor Trythall faces off against North Sevier on March 12. The Templars start their march to the playoffs this week.

The Templars overcame an early seven-game losing streak and turned a 4-13 near-end season record into a postseason surprise, winning three of their last four and shocking everyone to win three postseason games, getting all the way to the 3A quarterfinals before being ousted by eventual champion Grantsville.

Something about Manti sports and unexpected playoff runs seemed to go together in 2018. It was made that much sweeter when every single opponent the Templars took down was a team that beat them in the regular season, making for a gratifying revenge tour.

This year, the Templars graduated seven seniors from the 2018 season, and look to capitalize on the return of big hitter now senior Adam Huff.

The Templars will play in the Chuckwagon Classic this weekend after their season started at home against North Sevier. Their opponents in the Classic are Kanab, Delta, American Leadership, and Beaver, in that order.

 

Gunnison Valley

There isn’t enough that can be said about Gunnison’s prowess on the diamond, and the Bulldogs continue to look like one of the top dogs in baseball this season.

Already ranked No. 2 by Deseret News in 2A baseball, the Bulldogs reloaded after a hangover year from the 2017 championship season which saw Gunnison make a second-round exit in the playoff at the hands of Kanab. The Bulldogs ended their season with a 22-7 overall record, including an 11-1 bulldozing of their region.

Gunnison showed off strong capability at the plate last season, posting 15 games of 10 runs or more, including three games where they eclipsed 20 runs. The Bulldogs went on a mid-season tear where they posted seven straight games with double-digit scoring.

The Bulldogs are led at the mound by senior pitcher Parx Bartholomew who has showcased strong pitching ability for Gunnison every year of his high school career. Great things can be expected from Bartholomew.

The Bulldogs started the season off strong last week in the Tiger-Panther Classic with wins over 4A Logan and 4A Union, 2-0 and 4-0 respectively, but suffered some setbacks against big-school competition, falling 9-6 to 4A Green Canyon and going down big against 3A Richfield, 15-7. Bartholomew and Jansen Keisel split the early-season shutouts.

The Bulldogs will continue their season in the Chuckwagon Classic in Kanab, facing American Leadership, Richfield, Morgan and South Sevier last weekend.

 

SOFTBALL

 

North Sanpete

            Last year, the Lady Hawks scored 50 runs in their first three games, and the rest of the season looked almost just as good. In 2019, North Sanpete softball begins on a higher perch.

After a spectacular 21-5 season fell short in a second-round exit, North Sanpete starts the new season ranked No. 3 in 3A softball per Deseret News and a plethora of returning talent. Only two seniors, Lexie Olson and Laynie Gillins, left the program.

“We have high expectations this year for our softball team,” Head Coach Landon Bailey said. “We had a very successful year last year, and many of our main pieces are back again this season. If we play like we are capable of, we should hopefully finish as one of the top teams in the state.”

 

In the minds of young players who saw success early, Bailey is doing his best to keep these girls hungry. “I’ve been reminding the girls that just because we were successful last year doesn’t mean anything for this season. We need to work even harder this year and be ready because 3A has a bunch of very tough teams that could all be there in the end.”

The Lady Hawks look primed to keep things going with their fiery offense. North Sanpete ended last season on an offensive tear, scoring double-digit runs in 10 of their final 11 games, including a 24-2 rainstorm against Delta in the first round of the playoffs.

While the scoring projects consistency, the pitching game, which allowed a great deal of runs, figures to promise improvement with all starting pitchers returning.

The Lady Hawks are well into their season with an early 3-2 record. Warming up with a smack down of Desert Hills, 15-0, North Sanpete went 2-1 in the March Warm-up Elite with a 4-2 loss to 5A Roy and a 10-7 victory over Desert Oasis, Nev. They then dropped a contest against 5A Maple Mountain, 7-5, and beat Idaho Falls, Idaho, 10-3.

The Lady Hawks continued their season against Richfield last week and are schedule to host Grantsville tomorrow.

 

Manti

            North Sanpete has tough competition for the 3A title this year, and it’s right on their doorstep.

The Lady Templars made waves last year in the latter end of the season with a run in the playoffs to get to the 3A quarterfinals and made it several games into the one-loss bracket, including a victory over North Sanpete. Now their momentum has led to a No. 5 ranking by Deseret News at the beginning of the season.

Manti had a bewildering 2018 season when they not only started 0-5, but they were also shut out in four of their first five games. Then, midway through the Dixie Tournament, Manti crushed 30 runs in two games to get on the winning side of the conversation. They went 13-5 over the rest of the regular season.

In the playoffs, Manti posted impressive wins over Morgan and Grand but fell short in another shutout against Grantsville. After staying alive in the one-loss bracket, they were ousted by Union.

This year, despite graduating six seniors, the Lady Templars look to be in good shape with a strong senior class featuring Lexie Alder, Jentry Young, and Tyra Hermansen.

Manti is well into their season and look awfully good with a strong showing at the Jones Paint & Glass Spring Showdown, posting a stunning 13-1 victory over 6A Syracuse and notching victories against 5A squads Brighton, 19-1 and Springville, 3-2 in eight innings. The Lady Templars’ only blemish in the tournament was an 11-1 letdown against Wasatch.

Manti continues the season hosting a doubleheader against Grand this Friday starting at 3:30 p.m.

 

Gunnison Valley

So begins the defense of the crown.

In consecutive years, Gunnison has claimed championships on the diamond with the 2017 baseball title and Gunnison softball’s 2018 3A championship victory over Enterprise, 12-2. The joyful drama encircled Head Coach Tyson Brackett’s squad as they captured their first title in almost four decades, led by a phenomenal performance from his daughter, Emily.

“It’s a good day for Gunnison. It’s a great day, and it’s a moment these girls, and a lot of other people won’t soon forget,” Brackett said last year after the victory.

No. 9, Lady Bulldog Gracy Christenson, sends a ball in to the batter when the Gunnison softball girls took on Spanish Fork in a home non-conference game on Thursday, March 7

Emily was a strong leader for the Bulldogs in 2018, but the reason why Gunnison is ranked No. 1 in Deseret News ranking for 2A softball may have something to do with her as well: the fact that she was the only one who graduated.

Besides her, the Lady Bulldogs return their entire squad from that magical run. Halle Bjerragaard and Paige King figure to lead out in a quest to defend the title and bring home another in 2019.

Gunnison faces a tough slate full of opponents who don’t care how good they were last season. Despite the talent, the Lady Bulldogs have face somewhat of a rocky start this year, dropping their first two games to South Summit and Spanish Fork, 5-2 and 12-0, respectively.

They will continue their season this week with a game today against Pine View and participate this weekend in the Warrior Elite Softball Tournament at Snow Canyon High School, facing 5A Farmington, 4A Snow Canyon, and 6A squads Murray and Clearfield.

The Region 18 Tournament Champion Snow College Badgers. Back row, left to right, Head Coach Rob Neilson, Assistant Coach Ben Cruickshank, Clint Nielson, student manager, Brayden Johnson, Davis Hardy, student manager , Darrian Nebeker, McLean Goulding Tojar, Culen Highbe, Truman Moore, Trevor Alder, Tyrel Phillips, student manager, Assistant Coach Thomas Salmon. Front row, Taj Regans, Logan Hokanson, Jake Walker, Stockton Shorts, Roman Behrens, Nick Huston, Brantzen Blackner, Tanner Quinton, student manager.

[Read more…]

Snow’s Savannah Lucero, No. 3 above, looks to pass to Savannah Domgaard in their game against the College of Southern Idaho last Friday in the semifinals of the Region 18 Tournament. The Lady Badgers won that game 46-44

Lady Badgers fall in 55-64 battle with tough SLCC

 

By James Tilson

 

03-07-2019

 

PRICE—Coming up just short against their nemesis, the Snow College women’s basketball team lost in the finals of the Region 18 Tournament last Saturday to Salt Lake Community College, 55-64.

SLCC has long been the gold standard in the Scenic West Athletic Conference, and this year was no different. Even though the Lady Badgers won a share of the conference regular season title, they still lost to the Lady Bruins two out of the three times they played this year.

And in the final game, even though the Lady Badgers looked to have the more dangerous offense, the Lady Bruins brought the defensive intensity to give the Lady Badgers fits.

“Salt Lake was just tougher tonight on defense,” said Head Coach Mike Russell. “We had a hard time even getting into our plays. We couldn’t reverse the ball because they denied the reversal. Salt Lake is very well coached. We missed some easy ones that could’ve kept it close.”

Snow started the game looking to exploit its size advantage underneath the basket. The Lady Badgers built a 16-13 lead at the end of the first quarter, which grew to as much as a 21-13 lead before the wheels fell off the Snow offense in the second quarter.

SLCC turned up the defensive intensity, and started to force turnovers from Snow. SLCC went on a 13-0 run, while forcing 5 turnovers. Snow was finally able to stop the bleeding, but the damage had been done and SLCC lead at the half, 28-33.

In the second half, SLCC kept bringing the “D” and Snow still could not figure it out. Neither team did very well on offense— Snow shot 27 percent in the third quarter, while SLCC only shot 20 percent—but SLCC was able to get to the charity stripe at a much greater rate. SLCC shot 27 free throws in the second half compared to Snow’s 8.

Snow made a run at the Lady Bruins in the fourth quarter, getting as close as 45-48 with seven minutes left in the game. But Snow again was plagued with turnovers, and could not overtake the Lady Bruins.

The Lady Badgers have fought injury woes this season, and several players who had contributed significant playing time were forced to watch from the bench. In the final game, Coach Russell was forced into a seven player rotation most of the time. The Lady Badgers were visibly fatigued in the final game, and their offense did not look as crisp as it did earlier in the year.

However, Coach Russell was quick to credit Salt Lake’s team effort and defense, and not fatigue by the Lady Badgers. “I think both teams were tired. I don’t believe that’s why we lost.” The Lady Badgers finished the year with a 22-9 overall record, and a 9-3 regular season record in the SWAC. They will wait to see if they get an at-large bid for the NJCAA National Tournament later this month.

Wasatch Academy polishes off spotless season, ready for nationals if offered

 

Tigers have not lost an in-state game in the last three years

 

By Matt Harris

 

03-07-2019

 

MOUNT PLEASANT— Wasatch Academy boy’s hoops finished their regular season with a reminder of just how much better they are than everyone else in Utah.

The Tigers closed out their regular season slate with dominating offensive performances, crushing Jordan, 106-78, and Kearns, 94-56. Both teams were ranked in Deseret News’ top 25, No. 14 and 15 respectively.

The Tigers ended the regular season with a 26-3 overall record, 9-0 against instate teams, and only one loss to a team outside of the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 rankings. They have not lost an in-state game in over three years.

It didn’t take long for things to go Wasatch’s way when Jordan came to town. Despite the Beetdiggers’ impressive offense and shooting, the Tigers led by double digits after just one quarter and scored 32 points in the final period to put the Beetdiggers to bed.

Jordan could not contain the offensive explosion from home-grown Utah junior product Richie Saunders, who had a monster game of 36 points and six rebounds on 1317 shooting, 76 percent from the field, and a scorching 8-10 from beyond the arc. Seniors Tristan Enaruna and Tre Williams scored 18 and 13 points respectively, while junior Mike Saunders added 10 points.

When Kearns came to town, Wasatch was unable to dominate in what started as a battle for the paint. Neither team even attempted a 3-pointer until late in the first quarter. Kearns kept up with Wasatch on the pace of an impressive performance by their front court.

Naturally, it was only a matter of time before the magic ran out for the Cougars as the Tigers steamrolled Kearns through the rest of the game for the 38-point win.

Wasatch Academy benefitted from a far more even statistical performance than the night before as five different players scored in double figures. Enaruna led with 17 points while Richie contributed 15. Senior and future BYU Cougar Bernardo Da Silva chipped in 14 points while junior Mady Sissoko double-doubled with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Junior Caleb Lohner finished with 11 points.

The 2A Independent Tigers now wait, as they do every year, to see if they have done enough to qualify for the eight-team bracket of the GEICO Nationals in New York. Wasatch Academy has made the Nationals two of the last three years, missing the cut last year while Lone Peak High School went.

On the Tigers’ resume this year are signature wins over Sunrise Christian Academy, KS, and Potter’s House Christian, Fla. They also went undefeated in five of the seven out-of-state tournaments they played this year and came within seconds of a victory over No. 1-ranked La Lumiere.

Wasatch would hope that the selection committee will look past their crushing defeats at the hands of Rancho Christian, Calif. and Vashon, Misso., tainting an otherwise historically impressive season. The Nationals will select their eight teams to participate at an undetermined date in March to prepare for the quarterfinals on April 6.

[Read more…]

Snow’s Sydney Pilling drives to the lane in the Lady Badgers’ victory over Southern Idaho last Thursday. Snow won by the score 86-62.

Lady Badgers share first place after beating So. Idaho 86-62

 

By James Tilson

 

02-28-2019

 

EPHRAIM—Making history, the Snow College women’s basketball team secured a share of the Scenic West Athletic Conference title last Thursday by defeating Southern Idaho 86-62.

“We are definitely playing our best basketball of the season,” said Head Coach Mike Russell. “Despite being limited with bodies, the kids we are playing are performing at a high level.”

By winning on Thursday, the Lady Badgers won a share of the conference title for the first time since 2001. They finished with a final record of 21-8, and 9-3 in the conference. The Lady Badgers have also won 9 of their last 10 games.

Their game against the Golden Eagle was an example of what the Lady Badgers have building towards all season—a strong, balanced inside-outside game that features the reliable rebounding and scoring of Megan Carr and Savannah Domgaard, alongside the 3-point scoring of Sydney Pilling, Savannah Lucero and Paige Farnsworth.

“We shot the ball extremely well,” Coach Russell said, “and our inside game was on point, as well. I think we will be a tough team to beat come tournament time because we are so balanced. Our team is chomping at the bit to play this weekend; I would say they are more than ready.”

Pilling and Domgaard both lead their team in scoring with 24 points apiece. Pilling also was 6-10 from 3-point range, and Domgaard pulled down a whopping 17 rebounds.

The Lady Badgers will have the No. 2 seed for the Region 18 Tournament this weekend in Price, since the Lady Bruins of Salt Lake hold the tie-breaker between the teams. The Lady Badgers will face Southern Idaho again on Friday at noon. If they win that game, they will face the winner of SLCC and CNCC/USU-E on Saturday at 5 p.m.

The winner of the tournament will receive an automatic bid to the NJCAA National Tournament in March. Even if the Lady Badgers get to the finals and lose, there is still a chance they could get an at-large bid to the national tournament. “We don’t’ want to find out however,” said Russell. “We’d rather just take care of business and win the whole thing.”

Templars fall in play offs, take fourth in 3A

 

By Matt Harris

 

02-28-2019

 

Manti’s Adam Huff goes up for two of his team high 16 points in last Friday’s semifinal loss to Morgan, with the final score 48-41.

RICHFIELD—The Manti boys basketball season could best be described as a cruise on I-15 if it had traffic lights and intersections.

For all the beautiful drives purring along at 75 miles per hour, there were plenty of brake-screeching moments running into red lights. If one can imagine how inconvenient and frustrating that would be in real life, welcome to Templar basketball.

The Templars hit the skids for the second time in an otherwise brilliant season last weekend, falling to Region 13 champion Morgan in the 3A semifinals on Friday night, 48-41, and losing again Saturday in the third-place game to region foe Emery, 78-73.

The Templars finished fourth in 3A this season, while Morgan went on to defeat Richfield, 68-54, and claim the 3A title.

Manti kicked things off in the playoffs with an impressive win over Region-14 champion Providence Hall, 74-56. The Patriots had one of the best players in the state, Marcus Sherwood, but Manti suffocated his supporting cast. Sherwood finished with 24 points and six rebounds but couldn’t make an impact on the offensive rebounding.

“Our key was that we knew that Sherwood was going to score,” Coach Devin Shakespear said. “We didn’t want to give the supporting cast anything else…they do a really good job passing out of their bigs.”

The Templars held Providence Hall to three offensive rebounds, which Shakespear said was “huge.”

More impressive, Sherwood was not even statistically the best player on the court. That title went to Manti sophomore Grady Thompson, who dominated the Patriots to the tune of 25 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and three steals.

Big brother Mason Thompson pulled in 14 points, while junior Connor Christiansen scored a season high 13 points.

“[Grady] had an exceptional game,” Shakespear said. “Guys rallied around and did a good job supporting him with defense and obviously keeping things moving.”

Next the Templars next faced Morgan. The Trojans had been playing shockingly good defense over their previous four games, not allowing any opponents to score more than 48 points. The had allowed an average of only 37.5 points per game during the playoffs to that point.

Any expectation Manti had of breaking Morgan’s defense quickly faded when the Trojans led 18-12 after the first quarter and held the Templars to under 20 points in the first half.

“We got some early looks that didn’t fall,” Shakespear said, “and we…got down pretty quick…At that point, fighting back, down eight or 10 points, I don’t know if guys rushed a little bit, because we actually had a lot of really good looks.”

In the second half, Manti showed plenty more fight. After falling behind by double digits late in the third quarter, they were pretty desperate to get back in the game.

Senior and leading-scorer Adam Huff came alive for the Templars, sinking three 3-pointers to push his scoring total to 16, while a 3-pointer from junior Kevin Clark as time expired in the third made it a four-point game with all the momentum going for Manti.

Junior Travis Thomson nailed a finger roll layup to make it a two-point game, 37-35, on the first possession of the fourth quarter and minutes later brought it within two points again on a pump-fake layup below the hoop.

Tragically, each time the Templars got close, Morgan sank just one more heartbreaking shot to keep the game out of reach until the very end.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” Shakespear said. “They worked their guts out and gave us a chance to still win, but we fell short. Gotta give Morgan credit; they did an exceptional job defending us.”

Huff finished as Manti’s leading scorer with his 16 points in the first three quarters, and was the only Templar to score over 10 points. The Templars shot a stale 6-21 from the 3-point line.

Manti followed up the effort with a solid performance in the third-place game against Emery but came up just short against the Spartans. Mason Thompson went down early with an ankle sprain, which unglued the flow of the Templar offense.

Mason Thompson, Huff, and senior Dallin Cox gave their best curtain call in their final games as Templars as they scored 18, 18, and 12, respectively, while Manti provided a look at the future with another stunning all-around performance from Grady Thompson, who scored 10 points and grabbed 18 rebounds.

Manti finished 20-7 overall this season and took third in region. Next year they move to Region 14 along with North Sanpete. Huff finished his senior season as a top-10 scorer in the state for 3A, while Grady Thompson was a top-10 rebounder.

“When you can win 20 games, with the schedule we had,” Shakespear said, “that’s a win…Reality is, we had a really good season. It was a really fun team to coach.”

[Read more…]

Following last two victories, Badgers have a good shot at Region 18 title

 

By James Tilson

 

02-21-2019

 

SALT LAKE CITY—With two more victories last week, the Snow College men’s basketball team moved into first place in the Scenic West Athletic conference and set up a winner take all game with Southern Idaho tonight in the Horne Activity Center.

“It’s a big game on Thursday,” said Head Coach Rob Neilson. “The winner is the region champ, and will get the top seed in the tournament.”

The Badgers moved to 23-6 overall, and 8-3 in the SWAC. They have a one-game lead over Southern Idaho, who the Badgers play in their last regular season game. With a win, the Badgers will win the conference outright, and secure the No. 1 seed in the Region 18 Tournament. The winner of the conference tournament will also secure an automatic bid to the NJCAA National Tournament.

To make the victories even sweeter, the win on Saturday was against Snow’s arch-rival, Salt Lake Community College. By winning on Saturday, the Badgers completed a season sweep of the Bruins, a first in program history.

“It’s big to beat a quality program like SLCC,” said Neilson. “It’s the first time in many years to beat them more than once!”

The victory against SLCC also marked a break-out for Truman Moore, who had struggled somewhat in recent games. Against the Bruins, he tied with Brayden Johnson for high score with 15 points, and grabbed a team-high 6 rebounds. “Truman is being more aggressive on both ends. He’s getting more touches and hitting shots. It’s really big for us when he is rebounding well.”

Winning four of their last five games, the Badgers are peaking at the right time for the conference tournament. “We are playing well right now. We’re playing together and moving without the ball much better. But we have to maintain tough play. We are very good when we play hard.”

The Badgers face Southern Idaho tonight in the Horne Activity Center, tip-off at 7:30 p.m.

Two Sanpete wrestlers advance to finals in 3A

 

By Benjamin Thornberg

 

02-21-2019

 

OREM—One Templar and one Hawk made the finals of the 3A state wrestling tournament last weekend at Utah Valley University.

Damon Mayfield of Manti, in the 160 pound weight class, and Dalton Anderson of North Sanpete, in the 285 pound weight class, both made the finals in their respective weight classes, and both placed second in the state.

Also placing for Manti was Seni Latu, who placed fourth in the 195 pound weight class. Early in the year, Manti Head Coach Ryan Fowles expressed confidence in both wrestlers being able to advance to the finals in their classifications.

From North Sanpete, Luiz Rodriguez placed fifth in the 170 pound weight class.

Manti’s Damon Mayfield, seen here second from the left, accepts the award for second place in the 160 pound weight class of the 3A state wrestling tournament. The tournament was held last Friday and Saturday at the UCCU Center on the campus of Utah Valley University.

North Sanpete’s Dalton Anderson won second place in the 285 pound weight class of the 3A state wrestling tournament. The tournament was held last Friday and Saturday at the UCCU Center on the campus of Utah Valley University.

Title drifts out of Lady Badgers reach with Saturday loss

 

By James Tilson

 

02-21-2019

 

SALT LAKE CITY—Snow College women’s basketball team’s dreams of clinching an outright Scenic West Athletic Conference regular season title drifted away on Saturday, as the Lady Badgers lost to Salt Lake Community College 61-55.

The Lady Badgers won their last game against Utah State University – Eastern on Thursday, 66-60, to take the lead in the SWAC race with only two games left. If the Lady Badgers could have defeated the Lady Bruins on Saturday, they would have clinched the SWAC regular season title, and the No. 1 seed in the Region 18 Tournament.

“It was definitely tough,” said Head Coach Mike Russell about the loss to SLCC. “Defensively we did not do what we needed to do. We gave up too many points in the paint, and we did not rebound the ball. Lack of depth, fatigue, a bad quarter at the wrong time, giving up 19 turnovers, all played a part in our loss.”

Through the first half of the game against the Lady Bruins, Snow maintained a lead and looked like the better team. However, even in the first half, Snow allowed SLCC to stay in the game with a plethora of unforced turnovers that lead to easy SLCC possessions.

Coming back in the third quarter after leading 33-29 at half, the Lady Badgers seemingly hit a wall, and their offense fell apart. They were outscored 6-17, and let SLCC take a 7-point lead, 39-46.

In the fourth quarter, the lady Badgers attempted a game comeback, but could never completely close the gap, never getting closer than 3 points.

Savannah Lucero and Sydney Pilling both had 11 points, and Paige Farnsworth (breaking out of a mini-slump) contributed 10. Megan Carr just missed getting a double-double by scoring 9 points and pulling down 9 rebounds.

The Lady Badgers’ last regular and home game of the season is tonight at 5:30 p.m. versus Southern Idaho. There is still plenty for the Lady Badgers to play for in their last game. “We are tied for first with SLCC, and could still win a share of the conference championship with a victory Thursday,” Russell said. “It would be our first conference championship since 2001.”

With a win, and a loss by SLCC, the Lady Badgers could even get the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament. A win would net the Lady Badgers no less than the No. 2 seed. The winner of the conference tournament would get an automatic bid to the NJCAA National Tournament in March.

Lady Hawks season ends in first round of playoffs against Juab

 

By Matt Harris

 

02-21-2019

 

OREM—North Sanpete girls hoops unlikely playoff season ended in the first round at Orem High School.

The Lady Hawks fell to longtime rival Juab of Region 14, 41-24, as they struggled to find any form of offense from outside.

“Juab really packed the paint against us, which obviously worked,” Head Coach Taylor Christensen said. “Outside shooting was our biggest weakness. If we had some more outside shooting, we could have been a lot more successful this season.”

North Sanpete scored only seven field goals in the entire contest. Senior Tiffany Peckham led the flock with nine points. The Lady Hawks had many opportunities at the free throw line as well, shooting 9-17 from the line as a team.

Though a bad second quarter put the Lady Hawks down big at halftime, a solid third put wind in their sails. Senior Tierei Laupapa, a face not often seen for North Sanpete, gave a post presence that was missing in the first half. Laupapa scored five points, all of them in a 9-0 run that brought the Hawks within eight points.

North Sanpete got no closer as Juab’s Bayli Heap put the Wasps on her back and pushed against the Hawks’ defense for a plethora of fouls.

North Sanpete finished their season with a record of 4-18 overall, 3-9 in region.

“The main goal I set this season was to make basketball enjoyable for these girls,” Christensen said. “It’s hard when you aren’t having success to lose sight of the fact that this is a game, so I mainly just wanted the girls to enjoy their time playing basketball.”

North Sanpete played with little in the way of expectations this year, but made the most of it on the efforts of a hardworking senior class. The fruits of their labors were a playoff appearance and a season sweep in their rivalry with Manti.

“This season was such a great experience,” Christensen said. “I am extremely proud of each and every girl on this team. Each of them has grown so much as players and as people… I am so proud of these seniors; they came in and just worked. They set a great example for all of us.”

Seniors Peckham, Laupapa, Linzy Flinders, and Aubree Ison now depart from the program. Though the offseason will tell in the end, North Sanpete figures to be led by a very young core next year with soon-to-be junior Graciee Christiansen being the statistical leader among returning players.

For Coach Christensen, the goal remains to “continue to bring the fun back into basketball. Show kids how fun it is to work hard.”

Gunnison’s Parx Bartholomew drives for a layup in the Bulldogs first round playoff game with Rowland Hall. The Bulldogs carried themselves well facing the Region 17 champions, succumbing in the final seconds, 62-60.

Bulldogs fight well against Rowland Hall

 

By Benjamin Thornberg

 

02-21-2019

 

EPHRAIM—Gunnison Valley High School boys’ basketball team lost its final game of the season to Region 17 champ Rowland Hall last Saturday in the first round of the 2A playoffs, 62-60.

Going up against the nearly undefeated Rowland Hall, the Bulldogs fought toe-to-toe with the Winged Lions the entire game, and nearly put the game into overtime. However, one quick shot in the final seconds gave the Winged Lions the win over Gunnison.

Despite falling behind in the early game, Gunnison did not give up. The Bulldogs rode an advantage in free throw shots, along with a balanced inside-outside offensive game plan.

Late in the last quarter, Rowland Hall just couldn’t keep Gunnison off their tails. The Bulldogs pushed hard in the final quarter, and tied the game with only seconds left. Rowland Hall had possession of the ball to end the game. However, Rowland Hall converted their last second play, and secured the win.

Janzen Keisel and Parx Bartholomew led the way for Gunnison as they have all season. Keisel scored a game high 27 points, and gave the Bulldog’s 14 rebounds. Bartholomew put up 12 points and 6 rebounds.

Gunnison finished the season at 10-11 overall, and 4-8 in Region 18, and finished fifth in the region.