Adding to an already trophy-laden year, the San Juan Bronco boys and ladies basketball teams aquitted themselves well at the 2A state tournament in Richfield last week.
The boys, under new head coach Wade Mortensen, played their way to an excellent third place finish, while the girls, under the tutelage of Justin Moon, finished in fifth place.
It is the first time since the boys have placed at state since 2002, when they finished fifth and the first placing for the girls since 2006, when they grabbed third place. Not since at least 1996 have both teams placed at state.
The boys were led by the all-around play of Cameron Shumway on their way to third place. His rebounding, passing, scoring and handling the ball propelled the Broncos to victories over Parowan and Millard.
Working the ball inside, San Juan broke open a close game with Parowan in the opener even though they made only one three pointer in the game. But that trey was the critical point of the game, when Tyler Nielson put the dagger in the heart of the Rams.
The Rams, with the momentum, had tied the score at 30 all and appeared ready to take over the game. However, the Broncos rushed the ball back down the court to Nielson all alone in the corner and he buried the three, giving the lead back to the Broncos, a lead they would never relenquish and seemingly taking the life out of the Rams.
The Broncos were deadly efficient against the Parowan press, and made the shots when they needed to steadily build the lead to the final 76-52 score.
It helped that Parowan missed eight of ten free throws during that stretch, while the Broncos made eight of ten. For the night the Rams were only five of 13 from the free throw line, as the Broncos made 24 of 29. Shumway finished the game with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Nielson contributed 17 timely points, AJ Slavens slammed in 14 and Logan Meyer 10.
From then, as often happens in a three or four day tournament, the Broncos couldn’t find the basket against the South Summit Wildcats, who were bent on defending their 2A title from last year.
The Broncos could manage only 12 baskets, missing from close range time after time and the cashing in on only nine of 17 foul shots. The Wildcats worked their advantage throughout the game, finally prevailing 54- 35. Shumway led in scoring with 15 points and Slavens with ten.
Finding the basket once again, the Broncos swooped up the Millard Eagles in the third and fourth place game to win 55-44. The 19-5 Broncos flew to a commanding 29-16 halftime lead and glided in from there to capture third place.
Shumway finished his long career at San Juan High with 11 points while being named to the all-tournament team. Logan Meyer poured in 16.
Lady Broncos are fifth
Justin Moon’s Lady Broncos were estatic to place at state. The gals lost their first game to eventual state champion Enterprise, 48-31, who was clearly better than everyone at state. But they overcome that first loss to win two straight and end the year on a high note.
The Lady Broncos ended North Sevier’s season early with a 54-31 shellacking, a game in which nine Broncos found the scoring column, lead by Kelsi Meyer’s 15 points and Brooke Lyman’s 11. Then the Ladies beat the Millard Lady Eagles on Saturday with a satisfying 53-51 win. Meyer again led with 19 points while Teal Palmer tossed in 14. The Lady Broncos finished the season at 16-7.
The only team left playing basketball, the Buckaroos of Monticello, finished the regular region season undefeated after a rugged 64-45 win over the Pirates of Green River.
Fighting quite like pirates, the men in green made a game of it for most of the night, but the orange-clad Bucks prevailed in four rounds... er quarters as they continually got the ball in deep to Dallin Duncan. Duncan ended the night with 25, while Cory Young tossed in 13 and Devin Wright 10.
The 18-3 Bucks began 1A tournament play in Richfield on Wednesday at 5:30 most likely against the 16-5 Valley Buffaloes.
Let’s get ready to ruuummmbbbbbllllllllllllllllllle!
For the Record
The San Juan Broncos possess two state basketball titles, having won in 1971 with that undefeated team honored earlier this winter and again in 1992. They also finished second a couple of times, in 1999 and 1991.
The Bucks won their only state title in 1994 while the Buckaroo gals won a title in 1987 with seconds coming in 1989 and 1986. San Juan girls have never won a state basketball crown, but not to fret; remember all those volleyball state titles?
The school year has been positive for the Broncos with state titles in football and volleyball and runner up finishes in boys and girls cross country.
Bronco uberfan, George Jones, was honored as the 2A Superfan at the state tournament in Richfield.