San Juan boys split their first two games

by Rhett Sifford
Sports Editor
The new-look San Juan High School boys basketball team got in a couple pre-Thanksgiving games to open the 2022-23 season.
They began with a long road trip to Junction, UT to take on Piute in the traditional 1A-2A Champions Game on Wednesday, November 16.
The meeting between the two defending champions doesn’t count in the official standings, but it’s always a fun game.
Of course the Broncos are a completely different team than they were eight months ago when they hoisted the 2A state trophy at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.
San Juan lost eight seniors to graduation and there’s now a new man at the helm – first-year head coach Johnny Slavens.
San Juan came out of the gate pretty well on November 16, opening up a 17-11 lead on the Thunderbirds in the first quarter.
The teams kept pace with each other in the second frame and the Broncos were up 32-27 at the break. But they had trouble getting going in the second half, scoring just 16 points.
Piute matched their own first-half output however, and flipped the score for a 54-48 win. Brooks Dalton was a handful for the Bronco defense, leading all scorers with 21 points.
In San Juan’s first game of the season, senior Garrett Young led the way with 11 points. Ian Johnson and RJ Dalley both had nine apiece. Collin Baker scored eight, Anthony Done had six in the loss, and Dakota Long rounded out the Bronco scoring with one point.
Dalley and Johnson hit three three-pointers apiece, while Young had a couple. Done led with nine rebounds on the night. Baker had five boards and Dalley and Johnson each pulled down four.
San Juan struggled from the floor in the loss, shooting just 16 of 48 for 33 percent. They were eight for 23 from beyond the arc for 35 percent and eight for 16 from the free throw line.
Five days after the season-opening loss the Broncos had a chance to bounce back when they faced the Grand County Red Devils in Moab in their first official game of the year.
This time, everything went right. San Juan dominated from start to finish for an 82-52 drubbing, and it easily could have been much worse for Grand if the Broncos hadn’t gone to the bench for most of the second half.
Young and Baker both scored 16 points in the win, all from beyond the arc. Young was a perfect four for four from three-point range. Jerzy Nieves collected 11 points, Justice Black got ten, and Done dropped in eight.
Done and Brigham Nielson led rebounding with five apiece. Nieves, Black, Johnson, and Dakota Long all had three apiece.
The San Juan shooting improved in Moab. They were 29 of 64 for 45 percent and 14 of 30 from three-point land for 47 percent. They improved from the line also, going ten for 17 for 59 percent.
The season continues this week for the Broncos when they head to Richfield to play in the annual 2A-3A Preview at the Sevier Valley Center.
They’ll take on Manti at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, December 2 and North Sevier at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 3. Both games will be broadcast live on Redrock 92 with streaming video at Pregame begins 30 minutes before tip.
San Juan Girls
The San Juan High School girls basketball team opened their season with a tough 51-38 loss to Grand County in Moab on November 16.
The Broncos had a good start, opening with a 13-8 lead after one quarter, but were outscored 43-25 from that point.
Serina Yanito led the scoring for San Juan with 19 points. Synessa Atcitty helped out with seven, Kaeah Howard scored five, Paige Bitsoie got four, and Shaylin Nez scored a point.
The Broncos had nearly a full two weeks off before their second game, which they played this Tuesday, November 29 against Monument Valley in the Cougars’ season opener.
They’re next in action on Tuesday, December 6 against Whitehorse on the road and they’ll follow that up with a game against Monticello in the San Juan High School gym on Thursday, December 8.

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