A historic day, the first time to have Sportshorts written on this date, February 29. Do you know why we have February 29 every four years? Me neither.
Actually, it’s because it takes the earth 365.25 days to orbit the sun, so we get an extra day after four years. Plus, someone wrote a poem, “30 Days Hath September...” so February must have 29 days to stay true to the poem.
The Bucks stayed true to their midseason resurgence in a rousing region championship home game with the surging Green River Pirates.
Early on, the Pirates looked to repeat the 74-47 palindromish shellacking they dealt the Bucks on January 17, when they jumped to a concerning 15-4 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter.
But the game Buckaroo bunch chose to rise and fight this time and after Austin Maloy hit a trey, bench players Collin Hatch and Jared Smith also both hit big threes and suddenly, by the end of the first quarter the Bucks had closed to 17-15. GR kept the lead at 27-26 at halftime.
Gunnar Hollingsworth led the Bucks in that first half with eight points, while Maloy and Jake Duncan both added six. Defensively, Maloy took the challenge of the state’s leading scorer, Justin Johnson (34 ppg) and “held” him to just 12 first half points. Ominously, however, the Bucks, usually sharp from the free throw line, missed eight of ten foul shots in that first half.
The Buckaroos went inside to Duncan and Hollingsworth early in the second half and scored the first eight points of the quarter to forge a 42-39 lead as the fourth quarter began, a lead they quickly pushed to 50-41 with 5:11 left in the game.
Then, those free throw woes, along with turnover issues, came back to haunt the Bucks. Monticello shot only three for ten in that fourth quarter while the Pirates made ten of 12. With 11 seconds left, the Pirates had closed to one, 55-54. After a final missed free throw, GR rebounded, with no timeouts, got the ball to Johnson, who raced the length of the floor to score a layup to take the lead with just five seconds left.
The Buck’s desperate attempt to win ended as the ball rolled out of bounds and the wild, boisterous and loud celebration for the Pirates began. It continued and continued and continued, if you know what I mean. I guess they haven’t won the region championship for a while, but congratulations to Green River. They fought back and took a win away from the Buckaroos.
Hollingsworth and Duncan lead the Bucks in scoring, with 18 apiece. Maloy added 10 before fouling out trying to stop Johnson, who ended with a game-high 30 points.
The loss gives the Bucks the second seed into the state tournament. They begin play Wednesday in Richfield at 7 p.m. against St. Joseph. St. Joe finished the regular season third in Region 17 with a 7-12 record. Win and the Bucks earn a game against either the number one ranked 19-3 Bryce Valley Mustangs, who stumbled in their region tournament, or the number four ranked 18-3 Duchesne Eagles.
Last week I mentioned that the San Juan boys basketball team have had their season disappointingly end in the play-in game in seven of the last eight years.
On the other end of the spectrum are the South Sevier Rams, who just completed the season with the 2A state championship and a 24-1 record, their second straight 2A state championship and third straight 24-1 season.
In the past seven years, the Rams have three state championships, one second place and three third place finishes while compiling a 155-15 record. I wonder what they’re doing up there in Monroe?
So have you been watching KSL’s reminiscence about the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics? I have and have enjoyed remembering the one Olympic event I went to.
I was able to attend a hockey game at the E Center (now the Maverik Center) between Finland and Belarus, with about 50 students from Monticello Elementary School.
The thing I remember most about the experience is the atmosphere outside the E Center as we were going through all the check points to get in. There was a definite Olympic atmosphere outside, kind of a mysterious, exotic feeling, similar to how I felt when I first arrived in Japan all those years ago.
In honor of the Olympics 10 years ago, I went with family to the Salt Lake Olympic Center in Park City, where the ski jumps and luge, skeleton and bobsled events were held in 2002.
An amazing museum is there now and the Olympic facilities are still in use. On this day, we climbed the trail to the luge and bobsled run to find sliders on the track.
As we stood at the very bottom of the track, waiting for that first skeleton run, (the skeleton is like the luge only you go down head first instead of feet first), we could hear that first skeletoner coming. And literally, he went by so fast, I couldn’t even tell what it was.
I realized you couldn’t look right in front of you, you had to be positioned in a place where you could see enough of the track to focus on the movement for more than a nanosecond. They were moving 78 mph down that track, astonishingly fast. That has to be one of the most thrilling experiences ever and for $250, you can take a ride down in a bobsled yourself.
Any Olympic moments for any readers out there worth remembering? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.