by Tad Barton
San Juan Bronco fans went on a roller coaster ride of emotions over the weekend as the Broncos defeated the number three team in 3A, the South Sevier Rams on Friday, February 1, 69-57.
The win improved the Broncos to 5-4 in Region 15 and set up a big rematch with the Richfield Wildcats on Saturday, February 2. Unfortunately for the Broncos, the Wildcats proved to be too much, defeating San Juan 52-41 and snapping the Broncos two-game winning streak.
On Friday night, the Broncos and the Rams were neck and neck through the first quarter as South Sevier gained the upper hand after one quarter of play by outscoring San Juan 17-16.
Much like the first quarter, neither team could separate from the other. When one team would make a run, the other always seemed to match it.
The Broncos did manage to gain a slim advantage and took a one-point lead at the half, 31-30, after posting 15 points in the second quarter, while the Rams scored 13 in the period.
The third quarter was all San Juan as the Broncos poured in 25 points while holding the Rams to 14, giving San Juan a 12-point advantage heading into the fourth, 56-44.
In the fourth quarter, the Broncos continued to build on their lead, as they led the Rams by as much as 16 points in the quarter.
South Sevier put together a late rally, cutting the lead to eight points about midway through the quarter. That rally all but stopped when junior Randall Flavel stole the ball and put the home crowd on their feet with a hard, one-handed dunk.
In the end, each team ended up scoring 13 points over the final eight minutes of play, resulting in a 69-57 final in favor of the Broncos.
San Juan had eight different players score in the game, two in double figures. From the field the Broncos shot a crisp 55 percent, including 33 percent from three-point range.
San Juan hit 10 of 15 free throws; snagged 23 rebounds; and dished out 13 assists, a steal, and a blocked shot.
Another key in the San Juan win was the number of turnovers they committed. The Broncos took great care of the ball, finishing the game with only seven turnovers.
The following night against Richfield, the Broncos looked to extend their win streak to three games but, more importantly, gain some ground in the very competitive Region 15 standings.
The game started out well enough for the Broncos. Despite struggling to score, San Juan held Richfield to just two points in the opening quarter, taking a 9-2 lead over the Wildcats after one.
In the second quarter, Richfield solved their scoring woes as they started the quarter with a 17-0 run, jumping out to a 10-point lead at 19-9 before San Juan finally put the ball through the basket.
The Wildcats went on to outscore the Broncos 23-6 in quarter, putting San Juan in a 10-point deficit at the half, 25-15.
The third quarter of games has arguably been the Broncos strongest all season. That was not the case this time, however, as San Juan was once again held to just six points. Richfield added another 10 points to their total, to take a 35-21 lead into the fourth.
The Broncos finally found some offense in the fourth, scoring nearly double their total score with 20 points. San Juan twice trimmed the Wildcat’s lead to nine points but were unable to get any closer as Richfield defeated the Broncos 52-41.
The Broncos usually balanced scoring attack was a little more condensed. Just five players scored for San Juan with all but three points coming between four players, two with 10 points each and two with nine.
As a team, San Juan struggled from the field, shooting only 30 percent. The Broncos’ shooting woes extended to the free throw line, especially down the stretch where they missed the front end of three one and ones.
San Juan finished the night shooting just 56 percent from the line (10 of 18).
One bright spot for the Broncos came in the rebound column; they pulled down 30 boards in the game. San Juan only had six assists and had six steals on the night.
San Juan has just two games left in Region 15 play, an away game at Emery on Friday, February 8 at 7 p.m. and a home game against Grand on Saturday, February 9. That game starts at 4 p.m.
It was a rough week for the Lady Broncos of San Juan. They dropped a pair of road games to the South Sevier Lady Rams (60-36) and to the Richfield Lady Wildcats (59-49).
The losses dropped the Lady Broncos’ Region 15 record to .500 at 5-5 but didn’t affect their standing. San Juan remained in fourth place in the region ahead of Grand, North Sanpete, and Manti.
The game against the Lady Rams started off well for the Lady Broncos, as they ended the first quarter with a one-point lead, 13-12.
The second quarter belonged to South Sevier, though, as they exploded for 22 points while holding San Juan to just five in the second, putting the Broncos in a 16-point hole at the half, 34-18.
Trailing big to start the second half, the Lady Broncos were outscored again in the third quarter, this time by 10 points, 21-11. The Lady Rams increased their lead to 26, 55-29.
San Juan got the upper hand in a very low-scoring fourth quarter, as they finished with seven points to the Lady Rams five points in the quarter, resulting in a 60-36 loss for San Juan.
Delaney Palmer led the scoring attack for the Lady Broncos, finishing with 13 points on the night. Bodell Nielson was next with eight points.
She was followed by Tasiah Little with six points and Madi Palmer with five. Brittany Grover and Katie Giddings rounded out the scoring for the Lady Broncos with two points each.
On Saturday night against Richfield, San Juan looked to bounce back after a tough loss the night before. The Lady Broncos started the game by taking a six-point lead after the first quarter, 13-7.
San Juan saw their lead trimmed to five points, 23-18, at the half after the Lady Wildcats scored 11 points to the Lady Broncos’ 10 in the second.
The proverbial wheels fell off the bus in the third quarter for San Juan, as they were outscored 19-8 by the Lady Wildcats and entered the fourth trailing by a score of 37-31.
Down by six to start the quarter, the Broncos battled right to the end, but they couldn’t overcome the deficit, as the Lady Wildcats once more outpaced San Juan, 22-18, to hand the Lady Broncos their second consecutive loss, 59-49.
Three Lady Broncos finished the game in double figures, led by Delaney Palmer who scored 13. She was followed by Nielson with 12 and Little with 11 points, respectively.
Grover was next with five points, Giddings had four, and Madi and Emilee Palmer each had two points in the game.
The Lady Broncos finish up their regular season schedule this week at home against Emery on Thursday, February 7 at 6 p.m. before wrapping things up on the road against Grand on Friday, February 8 at 7 p.m.
The San Juan wrestling team had five wrestlers compete this past weekend, February 1-2, at the Utah High School Activities Association 3A Divisional.
At 126 lbs, Seth Spackman placed sixth. Landon Burke placed ninth at 132 lbs and Josh Lacy claimed eighth at 138 lbs. Both Spackman and Lacy qualify for the State Tournament in their respective weight class.
Landon Black and Zach Palmer also competed in the Divisional Tournament but did not place.
The UHSAA 3A State Wrestling Tournament will be held Friday, February 15 and Saturday, February 16 at the UCCU Center of Utah Valley University in Orem, UT. First round matches begin at noon on Friday.