The number one-ranked Buckaroo basketball boys from Monticello played twice at the 1A preview in Richfield Friday and Saturday, resulting in two more wins for the Bucks.
Three Buckaroos scored in double figures to gain a win over the Wayne Badgers, 54-36. Cory Young pumped in 17 points, with Dallin Duncan adding 13 and Devin Wright 12.
Saturday afternoon, the Bucks matched up against the undefeated and third -ranked Piute Thunderbirds, the same Thunderbird school that has finished first, second, third, and fourth at the 1A state tournament the last four years and have placed fourth or better for the past 10 years.
Truly, the Thunderbirds are a benchmark team, a team one can use to measure one’s 1A strength. Piute came into the game this year with impressive early season wins over 2A Millard, Beaver, and Kanab, and 1A powerhouse Rich. However, the Bucks were able to enforce their will on the T-Birds, handing them their first loss of the season, 51-39, providing us all, perhaps, a glimpse of what could be with this year’s Buckaroo team. Duncan lead the Bucks with 24 points, Wright added 11 and Young nine.
It’s now “5-0 against New Mexico for the Bronco” of San Juan High after another weekend New Mexico tournament.
This time, the Webb Toyota Tournament saw Coach Wade Mortensen’s Broncos boys go 2-1 in basketball with large wins over Farmington, 62-32, and Shiprock, 74-42, the second game being their second win over Shiprock this year.
Against Farmington, Tyler Nielson (12) and Logan Meyer (11) led a host of Broncos in scoring. Jess Mortensen had nine points, with Barkley Christensen adding eight and AJ Slavens seven in a game that saw the Broncos race to a 33-12 halftime lead allowing lots of Broncos to get in the game and nine to enter the scoring column.
The second Shiprock game was similar to the first, with the Broncos holding the Chieftains to only 17 second half points while scoring 39 themselves. Christensen, a sophomore, topped the Broncos with 13 points while Shumway, a senior, added 12. Seth Moses (9), Logan Meyer and Tyler Nielson (8), and Shabazz Williams (7) aided the Bronco charge.
The Broncos’ only loss in New Mexico loss was a 65-49 beating at the hands of Eastwood High School, a 5A school from El Paso, TX, whose most noted aluminus is Jack Handey, who is probably best remembered by some for his “Deep Thoughts” segments on Saturday Night Live.
There was no joking by Eastwood’s basketball team however, as they handed the Broncos their first loss of the season. Jess Mortensen, son of Bronco coach Wade Mortensen, led the Broncos with 15 points. Cameron Shumway pitched in with 14, leaving the Broncos with a 6-1 record.
For the Girls, Kelsi Meyer lead the Lady Broncos over the Lady Buckaroos Tuesday night in Monticello. Meyer’s 17 points and Jolene Kirk’s 10 lifted the Broncos to a 42-35 win. Martha Beh was the leading Buckaroo scorer with 12 points.
After beating Monticello on Tuesday, the Lady Broncos turned the tables on the Whitehorse Lady Raiders on Thursday, besting the Raiders 54-46, avenging an earlier loss in Blanding.
Meyer again led the Broncos with 19 points, with Jolene Kirk adding 11 and Brooke Lyman nine. Saturday night the Broncos lost to a much improved Green River Pirate team and Megan Hatt’s 30 points. Meyer had 15 points, Kirk had 13 and Lindsey Christensen added eight, leaving the Broncos 3-4 on the season.
Lady Bronco coach, Justin Moon, responded to some intense Sportshorts questioning:
Sportshorts: Tell us a little about this year's version of the Lady Bronco basketball team.
Coach Moon: This year’s version of the Lady Bronco Team is still a work in progress. We are a very athletic team. If we can get our skills to match our athleticism we have the potential to be a very good team.
Q: What returning veterans will you rely on? A: Kelsi Meyer, Senior, led team in scoring last year. She will have to help others raise their games for us to be successful. Erika Grover is a Senior Co-captain with Kelsi. She anchors the team with her rebounding and defensive help. Junior Teal Palmer is the tallest player on the team. Strong in the post. Probably the highest basketball IQ on the team.
“New Players to watch for include sophomore Brooke Lyman, who can play all five positions and is not afraid of anything. Junior Lindsey Christensen is the best pure shooter on the team. When her confidence catches up with her skills, she will be a large help to the team. Junior Jolene Kirk is capable of causing a lot of grief with speed and quickness.
Q: How many years have you been a head coach? A: This will be my 4th year as head coach here at San Juan. I have been coaching for 13 years.
Q: Your wife, Cassy, is the highly successful volleyball coach at San Juan. Is there a little rivalry between the basketball and volleyball coaches? A: There is no rivalry between my wife and me. There are a lot of great coaches here at San Juan. One day I hope to be one of them. I have a lot of role models to turn to for help with Cassy, Coach Monty Lee, Coach Craig Swenson, Coach Mike Bowers and the Hiatts, Kimberly and Steve.
Q: What are your goals for the year? A: Our goals for the year are to improve our record from last year and to play all four days at the state tournament. My other personal goal is to help the girls understand how much work it takes to be successful at basketball. I have always said that we have some of the best athletes in 2A here at San Juan. If our winter sports would put in the time, we could have just as much success as the other teams at San Juan.