The first of the two wins came on Tuesday, January 15, when the Broncos defeated the Monticello Buckaroos 72-44 in Blanding to snap a two-game losing streak.
San Juan then outlasted the number-three-ranked Emery Spartans in a high-scoring affair on Friday, January 18. It was a rare situation with both teams topping the century mark. The Broncos were able to come away with a 105-100 win over the Spartans.
It was the first time the Broncos had scored 100 or more points in regulation since December 1990 when, under Coach Dennis Jones, they averaged 111 points over three games at a tournament in Kirtland, NM.
In the first game of the week, San Juan and Monticello were neck and neck throughout the opening quarter. Every time the Broncos scored, the Bucks answered, and the first quarter ended with San Juan holding a narrow one-point lead, 17-16.
In the second, the Broncos threw the Bucks a bit of a curve ball by getting out of their full court press which had proved effective in the first matchup between the two teams back in December.
Coach Tony Esplin’s team had figured the press out pretty well in the first quarter, rendering it ineffective. San Juan’s answer was a half court trap which did its job, forcing multiple turnovers and limiting the Bucks to just five points in the second.
On the offensive end, the Broncos added another 17 points to take a 34-21 lead at the half.
San Juan kept the pedal to the floor, both offensively and defensively, in the third quarter, again holding Monticello to single-digit scoring on defense and pouring in another 23 points of offense to push their lead to 30 points, 57-27 after three quarters of play.
The Buckaroos finally got the better of the Broncos in the fourth quarter, 17-15, resulting in a 72-44 final in favor of San Juan.
Monticello was led by Weston Nebeker’s 14 points, followed by Taylor Torgerson’s 12. Adam Bunker added seven points and Lucas Hatch finished with five, while Britton Brewer, Dylan Bird, and Spencer Knudsen each chipped in two apiece.
Nine Broncos finished the game with five or more points. San Juan collected 18 assists, 27 rebounds and 15 steals. They shot 54 percent from the field, (31 for 57), and finished the night a perfect three for three from the free throw line.
On Friday, January 18, the Broncos resumed their Region 15 schedule, hosting Emery. The Spartans came into the game ranked number three in 3A behind top-ranked South Sevier and second-ranked Richfield, who also held the number one and two spots in Region 15.
The Broncos scored first after controlling the opening tip. The lead changed a couple of times during the first quarter before ending with San Juan up two, 21-19.
The Spartans heated up in the second quarter and led by as much as 15 at one point. But San Juan kept their cool and steadily chipped away at it.
When the dust settled, both teams had topped 30 points in the quarter and Emery held a 57-53 halftime lead over San Juan.
The second half began with both teams mirroring each other on the scoreboard before the Broncos went on a run about midway through the third quarter. San Juan took their first lead since early in the second, outpacing Emery 28-18 to take an 81-75 lead into the fourth.
The Broncos started the final eight minutes of the game by building their lead to 10 points – their largest lead of the game. Just as it looked like San Juan was going to pull away, Emery came roaring back, trimming the Bronco lead down to two about midway through the period.
Trailing late with time running out, the Spartans were forced to foul to stop the clock. That plan didn’t work out as hoped for Emery; San Juan was rock solid from the free throw line and they held off the Spartans to claim a 105-100 win.
The win moved the Broncos solidly into third place in the Region 15 standings at 3-2, a half game ahead of Emery and Manti who both sit at 3-3.
The Broncos finished the game with four players in double figures, pulled down 35 rebounds, dished out 20 assists and had six steals.
From the field, San Juan shot 51 percent, going 30 of 58. The Broncos also finished the game 80 percent from the charity stripe, going 32 of 40.
Both teams hit 13 threes each and two San Juan players hit five shots each from behind the arc. Emery’s Kyson Stilson led all scorers with 46 points.
San Juan will have a busy week. They’ll play three games, starting with a matchup with the Grand County Red Devils on Wednesday, January 23. That game will tip in Moab at 7 p.m.
The Broncos will stay on the road and head to Manti on Friday, January 25, for a 7 p.m. tipoff with the Templars before completing their trip in Mt. Pleasant, UT on Saturday, January 26 against North Sanpete. That game starts at 4:30 p.m.
The Lady Broncos basketball team had one game last week against top-ranked Emery in Castle Dale. The Lady Spartans entered the game a perfect 14-0 on the season and they remained unscathed, defeating the Lady Broncos 79-43.
San Juan started the game off in a hole after falling behind in the first quarter. Emery doubled up the Lady Broncos with an 18-9 lead heading into the second.
San Juan’s scoring struggles continued in the second quarter. They could only add five points in the period while Emery poured in another 19 to take a 37-14 lead at the half.
The Lady Broncos found some life in the third quarter, posting their best offensive output of the game with 16 points. Despite San Juan’s improved play, the Lady Spartans once again outscored the Lady Broncos, this time by three points. They added another 19 to their total, taking a 56-30 lead into the fourth quarter.
It was more of the same in the final frame with Emery once again besting San Juan on the scoreboard.
The Lady Spartans got their highest-scoring quarter of the game, netting 23 points to the Lady Broncos’ 13, resulting in a 79-43 loss for San Juan.
Delaney Palmer paced the Lady Broncos with 17 points. She was followed by Bodell Nielson with 10 and Katie Giddings with eight. Madi Palmer was next with five points and Brittany Grover rounded out the San Juan scoring with three.
The loss leaves the Lady Broncos in fourth place in Region 15, a half game ahead of North Sanpete.
San Juan’s next game will be at home on Wednesday, January 23 against Grand at 7 p.m.
The Lady Broncos will then host a pair of region games on Friday and Saturday, January 25 and 26.
Friday’s matchup will be with Manti and starts at 7 p.m. and Saturday’s contest is against North Sanpete at 4:30 p.m.
A couple of Blanding Pride Wrestling Club wrestlers traveled to Richfield, UT last weekend to compete in the Beehive Brawl.
Parker Snyder and Taylor Black competed in the 12 and under division with some of the best wrestlers from the intermountain region.
Black claimed a first-place finish at 160 lbs. while Snyder, who competed in the 84 lbs. weight class, won two matches before being eliminated in the consolation bracket.