SSHS preps for title defense |

SSHS preps for title defense

Christopher Kamrani, Of the Record staff

Jerry Parker knows where the target lies this upcoming season; directly on the back of his defending 2A state champion South Summit Wildcats.

Parker and Co. get back to work to defending their boys’ basketball title tonight in the season opener as they host the Gunnison Bulldogs in Kamas.

Although the Wildcats are returning four starters from last year’s championship team, plus two key subs off the bench.

Returning six players from a championship roster is beneficial, but the South Summit head coach knows not having those few returning seniors will be difficult to overcome.

"We’re going to have a hard time replacing guys we lost," Parker said. "This year we’ve got good size and good talent."

Last year’s 17-8 squad got hot at the most opportune time as it won seven straight games to end the season, ultimately defeating Waterford 38-37 in the 2A state title game.

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But this year’s team will have a different look.

"We intend to run," Parker said. "We intend to pressure man-to-man defense."

Returning from last year’s team are quick guards Trevor Rydalch and Parker Anderson, both of whom also starred on the Wildcats football team.

"We have good guards this year," Parker said. "We have guards who can get out and run. It’s going to be more of a transition offense this year."

Levi Thompson and Jordan Page are other players who Parker and his staff are counting on this season to help South Summit transition to a newer style of play.

"It’s just a matter of finding out who the go-to guy is going to be this year," Parker said.

The Wildcats have a tough preseason schedule before they open up region play. South Summit will be taking on 4A East High School in the Pepsi Classic Tournament this weekend, and then will play host to defending 3A champion powerhouse Wasatch on Dec. 8 before playing County rival Park City on Dec. 10 at Park City High School.

"We wanted to schedule these games," Parker said. "It’s different. Wasatch is a great program. We’ll see if the team is excited to play them and see if we can hang with them."

Parker is pretty familiar with most of his players, most of whom played for him on the Wildcats’ football team.

But Parker knows that the biggest test for this team will be capturing another state championship.

"I think it’s going to be a lot harder this year," he said. "We’re the target. If we can win it again, then that’s the sign of a true champion. You never know if the kids are hungry or not. It’s my job to get them there."