by Tad Barton
The San Juan Broncos boys basketball team picked up a couple of quality wins this past weekend, defeating Region 15 opponents Gunnison Valley 82-72 and Manti 69-62, to start off 2-0 in conference play.
Big offensive games from Jordan Blake, 21 points; Max Slavens, 20 points; and Caleb Pugh, 19 points, led the Broncos to a win against Gunnison Valley.
Blake then recorded a career high 29 points to lead the way in the win against the defending 2A state champs, the Manti Templars.
San Juan used a big first quarter against Gunnison Valley to jump out to a 16-point lead, outscoring the Bulldogs 19-3. The Broncos continued to score in the second quarter, dropping 20 points on Gunnison Valley.
The Bulldogs heated up on offense, scoring 24 points in the period to cut the San Juan lead down to 12, 39-27, at the half.
In the third quarter, the Broncos were able to build the lead as high as 20 points. Just as it looked as if the Broncos had put the game away, the Bulldogs found a way to get back into the game.
The San Juan lead continued to surge back and forth, but by the end of the quarter the Broncos led by 17, 63-46.
In the final quarter, Gunnison Valley got hot from beyond the arc and pulled within three points of San Juan. Once again the Broncos responded and, although they were outscored in the quarter 26-19, were able to hold of the Bulldogs and secure an 82-72 win.
Blake led all scorers with 21, just ahead of Slavens who netted 20, and Pugh who finished with 19. Blake also nabbed seven rebounds and was red hot from the three-point line, hitting four of five attempts from downtown, while Slavens dished out eight assists and Pugh grabbed eight rebounds.
Jaden Torgerson was next in line with nine points and eight boards. Jaxon Lee finished with six points on two for two shooting from beyond the arc.
Bronz Eldredge scored four points, reeled in seven rebounds and had four assists. Zach Brown came off the bench and gave the Broncos solid minutes, finishing with two points and two rebounds. Keaton Hiatt rounded out the scoring for San Juan with one.
Against Manti, the Broncos fell behind early in the first quarter but were able to battle back to trail by eight, 21-13. SJ had a solid second quarter and continued to chip away at the Templar lead, outscoring Manti 21-17 in the quarter to trail by four at the half, 38-34.
The Broncos came back on the court after the half and used tough defense to hold the Templars to just eight points, while scoring 12 points of their own to tie the game at 46-46 heading into the final quarter.
San Juan finally pulled ahead in the fourth quarter and held off Manti down the stretch, outscoring the Templars 23-16 in the fourth quarter to secure the 69-63 win.
For San Juan, Blake continued to make his presence felt, dropping a career high 29 points. The junior has averaged 22.5 points per game since returning from injury.
Pugh scored 13 for San Juan and had seven rebounds to go along with three steals. Eldredge continued to play solid, scoring eight points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out three assists.
Torgerson scored seven points and snagged eight boards, while Slavens finished with six points, five rebounds and three assists. Mason Bethea chipped in four points and Dylan Ivins scored two points in the win.
San Juan continues the Region 15 schedule on Wednesday, January 20 when they travel to Moab to take on the Grand County Red Devils. The Broncos return home on Friday, January 22 to host the Emery Spartans. Both games are slated for 7 p.m. tipoffs.
The Lady Broncos picked up a home win against Monument Valley, 67-40, on January 12. They then split a pair of road games to start off the Region 15 schedule.
On Friday, January 15 San Juan defeated the Gunnison Valley Bulldogs 39-37. They then faced Manti on Saturday, dropping that contest 47-30.
Against Monument Valley the Broncos jumped to a big 15-point lead, 18-3, after the first quarter of play. San Juan then doubled their point total, scoring another 18 points in the second quarter.
Monument Valley tripled their score up in the second, scoring nine points and giving the Broncos a 24-point lead at the half, 36-12. In the third quarter San Juan again outscored the Cougars, this time by three, 17-14, to take a commanding 27-point lead into the final quarter, 53-26.
Monument Valley stayed steady in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 points. The Broncos also scored 14 in the fourth to wrap up the 67-40 win.
Tyla Morris led all scorers with 15 points. KrysTelle Noyse was right behind with 14 points. Sharla Yanito finished with nine, while Krista Grover and Mary Royer each scored six.
Megan Grover and Bodell Nielson each finished with four points. Lakesia Lopez, Nizhonii Begaye and Ryann Shumway scored two apiece and Chamique Lopez finished with one.
Against Gunnison Valley, San Juan used a balanced scoring attack. Mary Royer hit a couple of free throws down the stretch to secure a 39-37 win for the Broncos.
After ending the first quarter in a deadlock at 12-12, the Broncos outscored the Bulldogs by three in the second quarter, 11-8, to take a 23-20 lead at the half.
Gunnison battled back in the third quarter, outscoring San Juan 9-6 and knotting the score at 29-29. The game remained close in the fourth quarter with the Broncos pulling off the 39-37 win behind Royer’s clutch free throws.
Krista Grover led San Juan with ten points, just ahead of Morris and Royer, who each finished with nine. Megan Grover chipped in five points, while Lakesian Lopez had three. Yanito scored two points, and Noyse recorded one point in the win.
In the game against Manti, San Juan fell behind early and never recovered.
The Templars managed to score 14 first quarter points while holding the Broncos to just two points and jumped to a 12-point lead.
The second quarter saw the Manti lead continue to grow as they outscored San Juan by 10 points, 16-6, to take a 28-8 lead into the intermission.
The Broncos outscored the Templars in both the third and fourth quarters, 10-9 and 12-8 respectively. The San Juan run was just too little, too late as they fell to Manti by 17 points, 47-30.
Morris led all scoring with 18 points, including four three pointers. Noyse finished the game with four points and Krista Grover and Shumway each scored two points for San Juan.
Lakesia Lopez, Megan Grover, Shaelyn Squires and Yanito each finished with one point in the loss.
San Juan will travel to Castledale, UT to take on the Emery Spartans Thursday, January 21. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.