Broncos cruise through Preview, prepare for a challenging week

After opening their new season with an easy win over Grand County a couple days before Thanksgiving, the San Juan High School boys basketball team was looking to continue a strong start when they traveled to Richfield, UT for the 2021 2A/3A Central Utah Boys Basketball Preview at the Sevier Valley Center this past weekend.

The Broncos had a fun opportunity to begin the event – a rematch with Juab, the team that beat them in the 3A State Championship Game back on February 27.

But this time around there were no fireworks. The Wasps lost all five of their 2020-21 starters to graduation, so the team on the SVC hardwood this past Friday was entirely dissimilar to the team on that same floor nine months ago.

While San Juan is stacked with seniors this year, Juab is heavily lacking varsity experience, and the contrast was obvious. Still, the Wasps battled hard and kept the game close until the final quarter.

The Broncos jumped out to a 16-4 lead after one quarter, but Juab had a 17-14 edge in the second frame to pull to within nine points at the half.

The teams played to a 14-14 draw in the third quarter before San Juan finished off the game with a solid 18-8 fourth quarter for a 62-43 win.

On day two of the Preview, San Juan faced the fellow 2A Duchesne Eagles, another team that is in a “rebuilding” year, lacking varsity experience.

The Broncos dominated. They were up by five after one quarter, ten at the break, and crushed the Eagles 38-5 in the second half on the way to a 70-27 final.

Ladd Ivins led the charge on the weekend with 30 points between the two games. Grover was right behind with 29. He scored 22 of those points in the Juab win.

Cooper Black collected 20 points in Richfield, Jayden Black had 19, and Jace Palmer scored 15.

Following the win over Juab, Bronco Head Coach Travis Black mentioned that the team “got killed” on the boards. Some overnight coaching payed dividends as San Juan was decidedly better against Duchesne, out-rebounding the Eagles 51-22.

Along with his 12 points in the win over Duchesne, Cooper Black grabbed ten boards to register the team’s only double-double of the weekend. He ended up with 12 total boards for the weekend.

Jayden Black led the team in rebounds for both games with 15. Ivins got 11, Grover pulled down ten, and Palmer also got ten boards at the event.

San Juan shot the ball well from long range. Ivins led the way with five threes in the two games, Grover had four – all against Juab, Jayden Black hit three, and Palmer drained one.

Reflecting on San Juan’s performance in Richfield, Coach Black said there is still work to be done, especially with a tough Real Salt Lake Academy group coming to Blanding to play them this Wednesday.

He explained that the rotations still aren’t exactly where they need to be. In addition, the shooting needs to get better. Against Juab the Broncos were decent, hitting 48 percent of their shots. But they struggled against Duchesne, hitting just 38 percent from the floor.

Those things aren’t too much of a shock considering the season is brand new and these boys played an extended football season this year, but it will be a factor against the tough Griffins on Wednesday.

RSL has already played eight games this year and sports a 5-3 record coming into this week. Two of their losses came against Montverde Academy, FL and Pebblebrook, GA.

The other was a close one this past Friday to 5A Springville. The Griffins will play Grand County in Moab this Tuesday, December 7, stay the night, then complete their trip to southeastern Utah in Blanding Wednesday.

The Broncos have made a habit of scheduling tough opponents, and know that this week will provide a welcome challenge after a fairly easy trip to Richfield.

They have RSL on Wednesday, December 8, then they’ll welcome American Heritage to the San Juan gym on Friday, December 10. Incidentally, RSL spanked the Patriots 96-37 on November 20.

The games will tip at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and 5:30 p.m. on Friday and you can catch both games live on Redrock 92.7 FM and

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