Tempo builds for Broncos, key rematch this week
by Rhett Sifford
The San Juan High School boys basketball team further cemented their status as the top team in Utah 2A basketball on Friday, January 21 with a fairly convincing 67-53 win over the #8 Kanab Cowboys in the San Juan gym.
It was a tentative first half for the Broncos and Kanab even led briefly on a couple occasions, but San Juan dominated the second half on the way to the 14-point win.
The home squad outscored the visitors in every quarter – 16-12 in the first, 14-10 in the second, 19-16 in the third, and 18-15 in the fourth.
Senior Jensen Grover caught fire and had the standout performance of the night, leading scoring with 21 points. He shot three-of-six from beyond the arc, assisted on four Bronco buckets, and pulled down two rebounds. He was also a perfect two-of-two from the free throw line.
Cooper Black scored 11 points for San Juan, Ladd Ivins had ten, and Jayden Black got nine. Jace Palmer and Preston Imlay poured in seven points apiece and Bronsen Snyder rounded out the Bronco scoring with a bucket.
Palmer led the San Juan rebounding effort with ten boards on the night. Cooper Black pulled down seven, Jayden Black got six, and Imlay collected four.
Ivins got the most assists in the win with six. Amazingly, he not only leads the team in scoring with 15.1 points-per-game, but he also has a team-high 61 assists on the year.
San Juan outshot the Cowboys from everywhere except the free throw line and out-rebounded them 40-28. They scored an impressive 16 transition points to just five for Kanab. They scored 14 points off Cowboy turnovers and got 11 second-chance points also.
Following the win San Juan is 14-3 on the season, ranked #1 in both the 2A RPI standings and Deseret News rankings for the first time this year.
Bronco Head Coach Travis Black said he was very proud of his team’s defensive effort and their rebounding against Kanab. He explained that after a sluggish road trip January 14-15, the team’s tempo was much closer to where he wants it this past Friday.
“We pushed the ball, we’re attacking the rim, and if we make some of those easy layups we get another ten to twenty points,” he stated.
The Broncos have now seen every team in the tough 2A Region 19 once and will begin rematches this week, highlighted by a trip to Enterprise Friday, January 28. They’ll meet the Parowan Rams the following day.
After beating San Juan on January 7 to take over the top spot in 2A, Enterprise has been trending the wrong way, losing three of their last four – to Panguitch, Parowan, and South Sevier.
Though the Wolves have fallen to fourth in the Deseret News rankings, they’re still #2 in the RPI standings. So technically be a rematch between the #1 and #2 teams in 2A when the Broncos and Wolves square off on Friday.
Coach Black and his players all know they’ll have to be at the top of their game, not only this weekend but for the remainder of the season. They’re facing tough opponents and they also have a target on their backs being ranked #1 in the state.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday. Both games will be broadcast live on Redrock 92 Radio and PictureItPalmer.com.