by Scott Boyle
Someone once said, “Never let go of hope. One day you will see that it all has finally come together. You will look back and laugh at what has passed and you will ask yourself... ‘How did I get through all of that?’”
Bronco and Buckaroo basketball teams got what they hoped for in the past week, with all four teams qualifying for state tournament berths with big wins.
The MHS girls of head coach Lee Chadwick scored their important victory on Senior Night in Monticello with a 52-27 victory over Pinnacle Academy.
Senior Brittany Keith had a hot hand for the hometown folks with a career-high 21 points on five three pointers. Keith has found the range from three point land with eight treys in the last three games.
Senior Kaitlyn Clark tied a career high with eight. Senior Mckaela Hughes added three more in the final home game.
Pinnacle surprised the Bucks a little, jumping out to a 4-0 lead, but Monticello recovered nicely and went on a 18-5 run to lead at halftime, 18-9.
In the second half, the Buckaroo man-to-man defense kept the Panthers off guard. With Keith hitting the threes, the Bucks outscored Pinnacle 34-18 in the second half.
The win, coupled with Whitehorse losses to Green River and Monument Valley, put the Lady Bucks in the state tournament, after missing last year.
On February 8, the Lady Bucks fell behind Green River early, trailing 9-4 after one quarter, but played the Pirates even after that, ultimately losing 49-43.
Keith continued her torrid scoring with 13 points and two treys. Shania DeAnda also hit double figures with 10 points and two treys herself.
The win gives the Lady Buckaroos the third place spot in Region 19, which lines them up with Wendover in the first round of the 1A state tourney.
Wendover is the top team from Region 18 and sports a 6-0 record in region play though they are just 11-9 for the season. The only common opponent of MHS and Wendover is Pinnacle.
The Bucks beat Pinnacle twice this season and Wendover triumphed 48-25 over the Panthers way back in December.
The first round tournament game is Wednesday at 1 p.m. at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield and will be broadcast on desnews.com.
Big Bronco wins
Both boys and girls Bronco teams won the games they needed to qualify for the 2A tournament and first round play-in games.
Jason Torgerson’s boys team beat Grand in Moab, 69-61, to clinch the spot.
Led by Barkley Christensen’s 27 points, the Broncos raced to a 41-25 halftime lead and held on for the win. Logan Meyer contributed 18 points and Isaac Morley added 12.
On Friday, the Broncos lost at Emery to the Spartans, 72-62 to settle in the fourth place spot. Christensen scored 18 and Logan Meyer added 17.
The win pits the Broncos against the Tigers of Wasatch Academy, the top ranked team in 2A.
The Tigers boast a 20-1 record, own wins over 4A Westlake, 3A Tooele and 3A Weber, and sport a starting lineup that reach 6’9’, 6’8”, 6’3”, 6’2”, 6’2”.
In fact, no one under six feet is on the international team, which is led in scoring by Cody John (15 ppg), Koby McEwen (14ppg), and Geno Luzcando (13 ppg). They outscored region opponents by a score of 66-39 on average. The game is Saturday at 5 p.m. at Orem High School.
The Lady Broncos also beat Grand 44-29 to make the 2A girls state tournament. San Juan jumped to a 30-12 halftime lead after a 20-4 second quarter run and cruised to the win.
Brooke Lyman and Sam Giddings had nine points each to pace the Broncos. On Friday, they lost to Emery on Senior Night, 71-56. Senior Lyman had 19 points to lead the scoring, while fellow senior Erin Hurst had 12 and Brooke DeWitt had 14.
The Lady Broncos draw Region 18 top seed Gunnison, who are 8-2 in region play but only 11-10 overall. They both lost to South Sevier, the Bulldogs by 29 points and the Broncos twice by eight. Win and the girls from Blanding would play 10-9 Kanab or 9-9 South Summit.
Finally, the Buckaroos boys faced the second place Pinnacle Panthers, with a win bringing the region crown and top seed in the 1A tournament.
When Easton Nielson hit a free throw with 2:30 left in the game, the Bucks led 97-52 and the only suspense was if they would score 100 points.
Good thing they started out the game the opposite way they finished as the Bucks missed nine three point shots in a row and didn’t get to 100. But they got the important win after a blistering first half.
Scoring inside and out, the Bucks raced to 24-14 first quarter lead on the shell-shocked Panthers and stretched it to 53-26 at the half. The Bucks hit seven treys in the half to beat the Panthers at their own game. When not hitting threes, they were hitting easy shots inside.
Jake Duncan had 12 of his game-high 20 points in the first half, while Austin Maloy hit three of the seven treys on his way to 11 first half points.
Gunnar Hollingsworth and Collin Hatch both had eight points in that amazing first half, perhaps the best half of the year for the Buckaroos. The second half saw the Bucks keep up the pressure with six more treys and tons of easy baskets off steals.
Five Buckaroos scored in double figures with Duncan (20), Maloy (16 and four treys), Dillon Maughan (14 and four treys), Hollingsworth (12), and Tanner Eardley (11).
Collin Hatch and Sheldon Black had eight points each, almost giving the balanced Bucks seven double figure scorers.
The Bucks have two more weeks in the regular season, hosting Monument Valley on Friday.
San Juan qualified six wrestlers for the 2A state wrestling tournament to be held at UVU in Orem Friday and Saturday.
Dallin Jacobsen wrestled his way to second place in the South Divisional Saturday at 138 pounds.
Jens Grover (160) and Dominik Perkins (106) finished in fourth, while Lakeem Benally was fifth at 285, Jayson McDaniel, sixth at 145 and Trevor Buck eighth at 182.
Jacobsen, a senior who has placed fifth at state three years in a row, is looking to place higher this year.