Parkite ends prep career with state title
Daniel Deane the city’s best basketball player not playing in Park City spent Saturday night in Ogden helping to put his team, his coach and his school in the history books at the 3A Utah State High School Basketball Championships.
The storyline couldn’t have been better if it had been a made-for-TV movie. Two teams Judge Memorial Catholic High School, playing for coach Jim Yerkovich, who is celebrating his 40th year at the helm of the high school hoops program there vs. Tooele, playing in the memory of their coach, Gary Alverson, who died just weeks earlier from lung cancer playing for all the glory and honor of the state title.
Both stories were compelling, but it would be Jeremy Ranch’s Deane and the Judge Bulldogs that would emerge victorious, with the gleaming state trophy in hand, after beating the Tooele Buffaloes 40-29.
"I can’t say how good it feels," Deane said.
The game was a far cry from the high-scoring spectacle that the Bulldogs put on just weeks ago when they wrapped up Region 10 competition against Park City. The Bulldogs started out slowly, leading only10-7 after the first quarter. Both teams continued to struggle to find their shot at times, but it was the Bulldogs that ultimately let their defense do the work for them. In the fourth quarter, Tooele came within 4 points in the fourth quarter, but Judge would not be denied, pulling away at the free throw line and winning 40-29.
Deane, who is bound for the University of Utah basketball program next year, had his usual flashes of greatness, including a dazzling dunk in the first half, but finishing with only nine points, it was the entire team that earned the win.
"Everyone is a little part of this win," Deane said. "We all did our part."
The season caps off a storybook 24-1 season for the 6-foot 8-inch Deane, the Bulldogs and a four-year high school career where he slowly came to be regarded as one of the top 100 players in the country.
"Twenty-four and one is sweet," Deane said, "but nothing is sweeter than the state championship."
The win was also special for the Deane family. Little sister, Lauren, also a hoopster at Judge, sat in the student section and cheered at the top of her lungs. Across the arena, his father, Greg, who played at the University of Utah from 1975-1979, watched as his son’s athletic dreams came true.
"His goal all year was to win Region, win State and win the ACIT," Greg said. "His ultimate goal is to do well."
The Deane’s were also happy that Daniel could share the state crown with Coach Yerkovich, who has meant so much to him over the years.
"There are some things that we as parents get upset about, but he [Yerkovich], sees the big picture," Greg said. "He respects them as people first and athletes second."
The season is not yet over for Deane. The Bulldogs are headed to Maryland for the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament (ACIT), a national invitational basketball tournament for the top Catholic high school hoops programs in the country, March 16-18.
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It wasn’t easy, but the Miners dispatched Region 8 rival Salem Hills in five sets on Wednesday, earning momentum heading into the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.