The SJR recently had a chat with three basketball head coaches, Justin Moon of the San Juan Lady Broncos, Ryan Nielson of the San Juan boys team, and Lee Chadwick, coach of the Monticello Lady Buckaros. Their responses follow.
Q. How many years have you been a head coach, currently and other coaching stops?
Justin Moon: This is going to be my fourth year coaching girls basketball here at San Juan (one as an assistant and three as head coach). Prior to coaching here, I spent six years as the head coach of the girls basketball team at Whitehorse. I spent one year before that as an assistant for the girls freshmen team at Canyon View (Cedar City), and before that I was an assistant coach in California for a year.
Ryan Nielson: This is my 13th season as a head basketball coach; six years at Grand County, and now in my seventh season here at San Juan.
Lee Chadwick: This is my first year as a head coach. I have coached football and basketball previously in Alaska for 10 years. I have great assistant coaches helping this year, including Jennifer Westfall, Lindy Young, and Elisa Rogers.
Q. Do you have a team slogan this year and if so, what is it?
JM: Finish Strong.
RN: Team slogan is preached every year and that is Play Hard, Play Smart, Play Together, and Have Fun. We feel if we do those four things we will be successful.
LC: Our team slogan/this year is "Learn from yesterday, prepare for tomorrow, live for today."
Q. What are your definite strengths this year?
JM: Definite strengths this year are #1 A group of girls that gets along on the court. #2 A desire to not just play the game but to get better at it as well.
We are looking to improve on what was a disappointing year last year. I challenged the girls to MAKE 3000 shots during the off season. We only had a couple accomplish that goal but we had a lot of girls that tried and made more shots this off season that they have even shot in years past.
Many of the girls attended a local shooting/skills camp and also we took a team to a summer tournament. We haven't worked that hard in the offseason in a while here in Blanding.
We hope that this work pays off for us this season.
RN: Our biggest strength believe it or not is our team chemistry. These kids get along and they come to work every day, and they enjoy being around each other.
LC: Despite our limited varsity experience, we have some enthusiastic girls that are responding well to what we ask of them. We do not operate with a "peak by Friday" philosophy, and are looking forward to region play in January.
Our goal is to secure the top seed from our region, with everything else being preparation for that goal. We are fortunate to be able to play some top quality teams in December to help prepare us to meet that goal.
LC: Our girls' willingness to learn and have faith in what we are trying to teach them will be a great asset to us as we work through the year. We certainly have our work cut out for us, but I see indicators of us being able to attain our season goals every day in practice.
Q. Why do you coach?
JM: It has always been something I wanted to do.
RN: I love to coach because I love being around kids. I am very lucky to be around great kids who are very coachable and love the game of basketball as much as I do.
LC: I decided to coach after being persuaded by a close friend and coach to try it for one year with him. I came to realize the significance of the work of assisting youth through tumultuous years, and came to believe strongly in the value of team sports to accomplish that endeavor.
I recognize that not all athletic programs teach the same values or morals, and few expressly emphasize the purpose of athletics in raising quality young women and men. In fact, high school athletics often gets denigrated due to the numerous and well-publicized poor examples.
I hope to work to change that. I take my guiding principle for coaching from the book entitled, "The Season of Life." There, when asked how successful the team will be, Coach Joe Ehrmann replies, "I won't know for 20 years!" Likewise, I hope to be a force for good in the lives of those I coach.
Q. Team Captains-who are they and what is their significance?
JM: I don't really pick a team captain. I rotate that honor during the year.
RN: Team captains where voted by their teammates and they are Keaton Perkins and Cameron Shumway. These two young men have tons of varsity experience and their teammates look up to them to lead the team.
LC: Team captains this year include Janessa Bowring and Abigail Chadwick. Janessa has played a pivotal leadership role in the off-season this year as we transitioned coaches, programs, and players, attended camp, and focused on the coming year. Her inclusionary nature is pivotal in our team's success this year, and is necessary for each of our team members to obtain.
Abigail has set the standard for off-season work. In addition to attending camps, she has not missed a single open gym this summer or fall and has steadily worked to improve her skill set. Her work ethic both off- and in-season is exemplary and the standard we hope to set within our program.
Q. Players to look for this year.
JM: Junior Kelsi Meyer is in her third year on varsity. In our first game she had 28 points and 13 rebounds (10 on offense).
Junior Erika Grover plays bigger than she is. She started most of last year as a sophomore.
Senior Jessica Bergeman has worked hard on her game and when she lets go can be a great offensive threat for us.
Senior Felicia Flavel is only the second year she has played basketball. She is our workhorse. She loves to play inside and is one of the strongest girls I have coached.
Senior Brooke Bowring fills the holes in for us. She can play numerous positions, and is a great one on one defender. There are many other girls that will help us as the year goes.
RN: I am very excited about this year we have some great basketball players. Its obvious that Keaton and Cameron will be ones to watch. But the biggest surprise will be AJ Slavens. He has really worked hard to get better and he should have a great year.
Others to watch will be Tyler Nielson, Seth Moses, Tyrell Nielson, and Shea Swenson. We will definitely miss Stetler Shumway this year who had a season ending injury from the state football game.
LC: I really can't name individual players to look for this year, I see so much potential and growth in each one despite the level they may currently be at.
As always, certain individuals tend to be more visual than others, as they have more visual skills and abilities. However, I am often reminded of King Benjamin and his sermon. No one would have heard his speech unless a few unknowns built the tower for him to speak from.
Likewise, our team will only be as strong as those deeper on the bench that work hard to make us all better each day in practice. They may not be on the court, but their contribution is no less valuable in what we are trying to accomplish as a team. If you really need a player to look for, look for the ones on the bench. They are our strength.
Coach Rhett Maughan's Buckaroo boys hit the ground running this year, winning big in both their first two games, defeating the Grand County Red Devils in the home opener on Tuesday, 72-43.
Four Buckaroos scored in double figures led by junior Dallin Duncan's 29. Steven Redd (12), Devin Wright (11), and Cory Young (10) also chipped in.
On Friday, the Bucks pounded the Montezuma Cortez Panthers, 57-39. The Bucks got balanced scoring with Redd leading the way with 15, followed by Wright (12), Duncan (9), Young (8) and Kendall Maughan (8). This week finds the Bucks at Richfield against Manila and number two ranked Piute.
Monticello Lady Bucks got their first win of the season Saturday in their home opener, blasting the Mancos Lady Blue Jays.
Swayzi Slade and Kendyl Boyd led the Bucks, scoring inside with 12 and 10 points respectively.
Tuesday saw the Lady Bucks at the mercy of MontezumaCortez Lady Panther's full court press, producing a 59-32 loss.
By press time, the Lady Bucks and the Lady Broncos will have completed the first half of their annual two-game rivalry.
Coach Ryan Nielson's Broncos have run out of gas. "We had nothing against Enterprise", says Nielson of the 2A Preview in Richfield. "We're wore out," he continues as the Broncos, fresh off a state football championship, have had just seven practices sandwiched between five games.
And they have four more games this week. The Broncos beat Durango, 53-42, but lost to Emery County, 62-61, Enterprise, 66-40, and Kanab, 55-47. Bronco stalwart Cameron Shumway rolled his ankle early against Kanab and didn't return but is expected back for the Broncos quadri-games this week.