San Juan boys basketball team picks up win as girls and boys open season in busy weekend

by Rhett Sifford
Sports Editor
The San Juan High School basketball season began with three games this past weekend. The girls had the honor of playing the opening game when they hosted the tough 3A Emery Lady Spartans on Thursday, November 16.
From the start of the game the Lady Broncos were on their heels against the strong-shooting Emery squad. They fell behind 28-4 after one quarter and trailed 49-11 at the halftime break.
The scoring slowed down in the second half. San Juan managed only one bucket while the Lady Spartans scored 25 points to roll to a 74-13 victory.
It was definitely a humble start for the Lady Broncos and a game second-year head coach Kade Palmer and his players can learn from as they embark on a new season.
The girls played one more game prior to the Thanksgiving break, on the road at 3A Manti on Tuesday, November 21. The game was played after the San Juan Record press deadline.
With a new season comes much change for the San Juan boys basketball team. A new coach is taking the reigns as former assistant coach Easton Nielson assumes the head coaching role.
He took his team 330 miles down the road to Hurricane for a two-day season-opening event on Friday and Saturday, November 17-18.
The Broncos first faced the host Tigers in game one Friday night. Hurricane hails from the 4A classification and they were a handful right from the start. San Juan fought valiantly but found themselves down 18-7 after one quarter and 39-12 at the break.
Hurricane continued to stretch the lead in the second half and were up 60-18 as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter. The Broncos rallied to win the fourth quarter 12-11, but that was fairly moot in a 71-30 win for the Tigers.
It’s tough to come directly off the football field and onto the basketball court with minimal practice, and that showed in the season-opening loss. Still, the Broncos managed a bit of offensive output.
Jagger Nieves led the way with ten points, Anthony Done scored seven, Tripp Palmer got four, Jake Ivins and RJ Dalley collected three points apiece, Keaton Ivins added two, and Own Adams scored one. Dalley hit the lone three-pointer in the loss.
San Juan came back strong on Saturday morning against the 1A Wayne Badgers. They jumped out to a 26-12 lead after one quarter, but saw it dwindle to 34-29 after a tough second frame.
Wayne kept their foot on the gas to outscore the Broncos 15-8 in the third quarter and take a 44-42 lead. But San Juan dug deep to score 14 points in the fourth while the Badgers mustered 12, sending the game to overtime tied at 65.
The Broncos maintained the momentum, dominating the overtime period 9-4 to take an exciting 65-60 win. So they return to Blanding with a 1-1 record and will use the Thanksgiving break to get set for another two-day journey.
They travel to Richfield on Friday and Saturday, December 1-2 for the annual 2A/3A Preview at the Sevier Valley Center.
San Juan tips off against Juab Friday at 7 p.m. and Kanab Saturday at noon. Both games will be broadcast live on Redrock 92 Radio with video on streamutah.live.

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