With some tweaking, Bronco boys basketball is headed the right way
The San Juan High School boys basketball team is 10-3 on the season and 1-1 in Region 12 as they head into the third week of 2020. They’re ranked #5 in 3A boys basketball by the Deseret News and they sit in third place in the most recent UHSAA RPI standings.
To the outsider, it would appear the team is cruising smoothly through the season. But to Bronco head coach Travis Black, the team still hasn’t peaked (not necessarily a bad thing) and still needs a little “tweaking.”
After opening the year with eight straight wins, San Juan has lost three of the last five. In their defense, the Broncos have had some stiff opposition. Since Christmas the team has battled two 4A schools and the two best teams in their own very strong region.
Black said the only loss that truly upset him was to 4A Hurricane at the Steve Hodson Cancer Classic in Cedar City, UT December 27, He explained that it was a winnable game and the Broncos missed four uncontested layups in the fourth quarter.
He said he also feels his team could have beaten Canyon View in the opening game of the tournament the day before, but that his team was flat after the Christmas moratorium.
Black said his boys bounced back and played well in the Hurricane game, in a win over 2A #4 Rowland Hall, and in a win in the Broncos’ first Region 12 game of the year against South Sevier.
But it wasn’t a good effort against Richfield on Saturday, January 11, and San Juan dropped to .500 in region play with a 60-49 loss.
With the first half of the season behind them, Coach Black said the main area where the Broncos need some tweaking is still on the defensive side of the court.
“We still just need to play better defense,” he said. “We have good, athletic kids who are capable of more. We can get away with okay D against an okay team, but not when you start region play and not when you’re in a region like ours.”
Indeed, Region 12 teams make up half of the top 10 in the current RPI standings. “Players in our region are good enough,” Black continued, “that if you close out too tight and take the three away, they’re going to drive on you.
“And if you don’t move your feet, they’re going to get a layup. I feel like our kids are long enough and athletic enough to do both, and our timing’s just off.”
Black said he believes the Broncos are headed in the right direction, and if they can make the proper tweaks, they’ll get where they need to be at just the right time.
They’re set for a couple key Region 12 matchups this week, against Carbon at home on Wednesday, January 15 and at Emery on Friday, January 17.
Black said San Juan should be able to handle Carbon, but he doesn’t want to make the classic mistake of looking past an opponent. The Dinos lack a solid point guard, so he expects that his team will have an advantage inside and at the guard position.
He expects Emery to be tough. They have an outstanding point guard in Brax Jensen whom Black calls “a phenomenal player.”
Black expects that the Spartans will show San Juan a two-three zone and double team big man Randal Flavel whenever they can.
Because of that, he said, “We’ll have to have some other guys step up and knock down some shots. We’ll have to move the ball quickly and attack the zone.”
The games tip at 7 p.m. both nights.