Hawks fall by narrow margins to North Summit, Ogden in early matches
By Matt Harris
TREMONTON—North Sanpete fell in successive, heartbreaking basketball defeats at the Bear River Winter Classic in Tremonton last weekend.
The Hawks’ defeats came at the hands of North Summit, 71-70, and Ogden, 55-48, after North Sanpete won their first contest of the season against Tintic.
“We feel like right we’re a learning team,” Head Coach Cris Hoopes said, “and that we haven’t had a lot of varsity experience…We feel like [the players] are gelling more and more. I felt like the tournament was a first time we played as a team the whole time.”
North Summit, rated as a playoff contender in 2A basketball, took a huge lead after the first quarter of Friday’s game, going up 25-11. But the Hawks fought their way back all game long, outscoring the Braves, 41-28, through the second and third quarters, to bring it within a point.
Junior Scott Hatch led the charge with prolific scoring, finishing with 31 points on the day, and the Hawks held a two-point lead in the final seconds, but North Summit’s Alec Hunsaker proved the true killer as he sank a three at the buzzer to steal the victory away from North Sanpete.
Ogden proved a far more defensive-minded opponent. Throughout the Hawks’ Saturday matchup, the Tigers tested North Sanpete with various defensive zones to a full-court press, and it forced the Hawks to improvise much of their offense.
Nevertheless, North Sanpete kept a tight game and would have held a first quarter lead had it not been for an eye-popping swish by Ogden’s Austin Richards from full court. The Hawks trailed 31-28 at halftime.
In the third quarter, North Sanpete’s grit mentality paid dividends as the game began to go the way of the Red and White. Hatch once again turned on the scoring prowess and knocked down a slew of buckets to help North Sanpete retake the lead by as much as seven at one point in the third.
Ogden tried to slow down North Sanpete by full-court pressing them like they did in the first, but Coach Hoopes’ squad had it figured out and took advantage of the empty defense under the basket to feed easy layups to their post players. The Hawks led 43-39 to begin the fourth.
The fourth quarter was when it all went wrong for the second time in a row. Ogden switched back to a 1-3-1 zone defense and shut down the perimeter, forcing North Sanpete’s offense to feed the post, where the size advantage of the Tigers forced contested shots and ground the Hawks to a standstill. On the other end, the Tigers took advantage of a loose perimeter defense and knocked down several outside shots.
After the Hawks couldn’t buy a shot down the stretch, Ogden sealed their victory at the free-throw line.
“Right now, we feel like we might struggle,” Coach Hoopes said, “but we have the pieces to be a good team in the future, and we still need to put that together.”
North Sanpete takes a three-game road trip this week to take on Millard on Wednesday, North Sevier on Friday at 6 p.m. and Duchesne next Wednesday.