North Summit boys’ basketball to rely on chemistry
Last season, the North Summit boys’ basketball team struggled offensively. At times only three or four players would score in a game, which made scouting the Braves an easy task for opponents.
This year, Coach Marques Johnson believes his squad will consistently have several different players score.
"We’re excited about this year," he said. "The thing this year’s team has going for it is tremendous chemistry. They’ve been playing together as a group for a long, long time. We’re going to see a huge improvement in the flow of the game. This group of kids is so unselfish because they’ve seen the results that come from making the extra pass."
North Summit’s starting lineup is expected to consist of seniors Braden and Mason Richins, Curtis Calderwood and Eric Wayment and junior Calvin Hunsaker. All of those players are more than six feet tall, with the Richins twins standing at 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-6, so Johnson expects the Braves’ size to be a big factor.
"It’s going to be a huge help," he said. "If you have size, you should have a better opportunity for rebounds, both offensive and defensive. It should create one chance for the opponent and multiple chances for us when we’re on offense."
Though Mason and Braden look lanky instead of strong, Johnson said he’s not worried about their toughness in the post.
"In the eye test, they do just look tall and thin," he said. "But if you watch that South Summit [football] game as I did, they were the two toughest kids on that field. Combined, they probably made close to 20 tackles that game."
Complementing the twins in the post will be a trio of guards that Johnson believes can do special things.
"Curtis and Eric are tremendously skilled guards," he said. "They can score the ball and it seems to come naturally to them, which is helpful. They’ll be complemented by a third guard — Calvin Hunsaker. With those three guards, that should be the best guard line I’ve had by far since I’ve been at North Summit."
Johnson expects the three guards to share ball-handling duty. He said the team won’t have a primary ball-handler.
"We’ve thrown that title out the window," he said. "We don’t want it. I don’t want to see you dribble the ball. Let’s get the ball up the floor as quickly as possible. If that’s our 2 or 3 guy, awesome."
One area of concern for the Braves will be depth, Johnson said. He’s still searching for more players to work their way into the rotation.
"We had a couple injuries in football that took away depth," he said. "Now we’re going to count on Tyler Coleman — a 6-4 junior who played D-line during football. He’s a big body. From there, it’s going to come down to the JV kids getting opportunities when we get in foul trouble. We’re looking for two or three kids to step up."
If the Braves stay healthy and improve throughout the tough non-region schedule, which features three tournaments, Johnson expects North Summit to be a force in Region 16 this year.
"Our mindset this year was to put together the hardest preseason schedule we’ve had by far," he said. "We’re not going to be concerned whatsoever with wins and losses. It’s just learning game by game. That’s all we’re looking for."
He said the Braves are gunning for a top-two finish when region play begins.
"Based on where I think we should finish in region, that just sets us up for a more favorable matchup in that [playoff] play-in game," he said. "If you finish third or fourth in your region, when you get to that play-in game, you’re facing a No. 1 or 2 seed. There aren’t many upsets in 1A or 2A basketball. Our goal is to fight our way to that first or second spot and have a much more manageable opportunity going forward."
North Summit’s season begins with the Pepsi Classic Dec. 3-5 in Ogden. The Braves’ first home game is scheduled for Dec. 28 against Northridge at 7 p.m.
North Summit Boys’ Basketball Schedule
Dec. 3-5 — at Pepsi Classic — TBD
Dec. 9 — at Duchesne — 7 p.m.
Dec. 11 — vs. Union (Park City Classic) — 5:15 p.m.
Dec. 12 — vs. Park City (Park City Classic) — 7 p.m.
Dec. 17-19 — at Flaming Gorge Classic — TBD
Dec. 28 — vs. Northridge — 7 p.m.
Jan. 7 — vs. Grantsville — 7 p.m.
Jan. 8 — at Morgan — 7 p.m.
Jan. 13 — vs. Summit Academy — 7 p.m.
Jan. 15 — at Maeser Prep — 7 p.m.
Jan. 20 — vs. American Leadership — 7 p.m.
Jan. 22 — vs. Providence Hall — 7 p.m.
Jan. 27 — at South Summit — 7 p.m.
Jan. 29 — at Summit Academy — 7 p.m.
Feb. 3 — vs. Maeser Prep — 7 p.m.
Feb. 5 — at American Leadership — 7 p.m.
Feb. 10 — at Providence Hall — 7 p.m.
Feb. 12 — vs. South Summit — 7 p.m.
The lift, called Over and Out, will pick up guests near the base of the Tombstone Express lift and drop them off near the top of Sunrise lift, allowing skiers to more easily descend into Canyons Village.