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Badger preview: Snow has high hopes, team goes 3-1 in Florida tourney

Badger preview: Snow has high hopes,

team goes 3-1 in Florida tourney

 

By James Tilson

Staff writer

Dec. 7, 2017

 

EPHRAIM—The Snow College Badgers men’s basketball team, reigning champions of the 2017 Scenic West Conference, has high hopes to repeat as conference champs, with a mix of returning players and new faces.

Also, in recent games in Florida at the Jim Grimes Memorial Classic, the Badgers came home with one win and two losses.

Like most junior college programs, Snow College experiences a greater than usual amount of turnover in its roster from year to year. This year, the Badgers will have three returning sophomores, all of whom will be counted on to make contributions, if not start.

Romain Boxus will be the starting wing, and according to assistant basketball coach Ben Cruickshank, he’s a “really good all-around player.”

Souleymane Guey, at 6’8”, will be the starting center for the near future. And Jake Bailey, the back-up center, is a “tough kid” that battles every play.

Of course, newcomers will be the bulk of the team, and several will start.

Logan Hokanson will be the starting point guard and is a good scorer from outside.

Jake Walker will be the starting shooting guard and is also a really good passer. According to Cruikshank, some of his passes are so good the coaching staff won’t see the pass until after he makes them.

Stockton Shorts will be the other starting wing, and he is skilled at driving to the bucket or kicking the ball out to an open teammate.

Another newcomer will be very important to the team, although he may be missing for a while. Truman Moore was the starting center at the beginning of the year but suffered a foot injury after the first games. He is an extremely good athlete and skilled scorer, putting in 30 points in one game.

Moore was slated to go to Utah Valley University out of high school but decided to go on a mission first. When he got back, he enrolled at Snow to get himself back into game shape and see which schools might have interest in him.

The Badgers started the year 5-1, playing well and fighting through tough opponents.

Last weekend, the team took a long trip to Melbourne, Fla., to play three teams in the Jim Grimes Classic.

The first game on Friday, Dec. 1, was against Tallahassee Community College, which sported an undefeated record. Apparently, the long trip took a toll on the Badgers, because they had one of their worst shooting nights, shooting only 36.5 percent from the field and 19.2 percent from three-point range.

Even so, the Badgers hung tough in the first half, only down two points, 28-30. But in the second half, Tallahassee began to pull away and outscored the Badgers by 11 to put the final score at 59-72.

On a cold-shooting night, Shorts led all Badgers with 12 points.

The second game was on Saturday, Dec. 2, against the Titans of Eastern Florida State College, also sporting an impressive 8-1 record.

This time, the Badgers had gotten their shooting legs under them and sprinted out to an 11-point halftime lead.

But then the Titans came roaring back, shooting an incredible 14-33 from three-point range.

Even so, with 4.2 seconds left in the game and trailing 66-69, the Badgers still had a last chance to tie the game.

Walker was fouled on a three-point attempt and had three free throws to tie. He made the first attempt but missed the second. Then he intentionally missed the last attempt to try to rebound the ball, but Eastern Florida grabbed the ball and sealed the 69-67 win.

Walker led the way for the Badgers with 18 points.

The final game was actually on Monday night against Palm Beach State College, although only stats were available at press time.

The Badgers pulled out the close win 79-78.

According to the stats, the Badgers again were behind at halftime, 30-33. But in the second half, the Badgers were on fire from Three-Point Land, hitting 9-14 for an incredible 64.3 percent. Most of those three-point shots came from Walker, 5-10 from three-point range and 18 points overall, and from Hokanson, who was 2-4 from three-point range and 17 points overall. Boxus and Nick Huston chipped in 10 points apiece.

The Badgers sit at 6-3, with losses coming to very tough teams but with the team shooting coming around by the end of the trip.

The Badgers’ next two games will be in the friendly confines of the Snow College gymnasium, as the Badgers host Central Wyoming College (Riverton, Wyo.) on Friday at 7 p.m. and Treasure Valley Community College (Ontario, Ore.) on Saturday at 5 p.m.