Seniors to lead North Summit boys’ basketball team
You saw guys like Ryan McMichael, Cameron Smith, Cason Deforest and Carson Richins play big roles on the North Summit High School football team. Now you’ll see them take on equally important roles for the Braves’ basketball team.
McMichael and Smith have been playing big roles for the Braves since they were sophomores, so Coach Marques Johnson expects them to lead this year’s team to success.
"They’ll be able to lead us and they’ve got experience under their belts," he said. "That’s important for us."
With Richins and Deforest returning to a deep squad that also features the Richins twins — Mason and Braden — and Curtis Calderwood, among others, Johnson is excited about the depth of this year’s team.
"This is my third year and we finally have depth," he said. "We’ve never gone more than seven deep the past two years. This year, I’m comfortable going eight or nine deep."
That’s important for North Summit, Johnson said, because the team wants to play an up-tempo style on both ends of the court. Having rested players coming off the bench will be crucial to making that work.
"Offensively, we like to get up and down the court," he said. "We’re going to push the ball. Our leading scorer, Cameron, is coming back, so we’ll be able to score."
Having a fast-paced offense sometimes leads to turnovers, but that’s where Carson Richins comes in, Johnson said.
"He’s a great ball-handler and willing to get it up the floor," he said. "He’s unselfish and makes the right plays for us."
And, even with the size of McMichael, Deforest and the Richins twins, Johnson is confident in his team’s ability to play fast.
"Even with the size, they’re still fast and athletic," he said. "There’s nothing that we’re going to limit ourselves with. Defensively, we’re still going to full-court press and do what we love to do."
The size featured by the Braves will also help in winning rebounding battles.
"Last year, we struggled with size and therefore gave up tons of second chances to teams, which really hurt us," Johnson said. "We’re excited to finally be able to bang in the post with other teams."
Schedule-wise, the Braves’ non-conference slate features primarily tournaments — North Summit will play in four preseason tourneys. Johnson is particularly excited about the Park City Classic Dec. 12-13, where the Braves will play 3A schools Park City and Union.
"Those are close games," he said. "I was glad to get in contact with [PCHS] Coach [Caleb] Fine for that. That should be a yearly thing — a good game between close schools. Even though there’s a size difference, it’ll be good for us to play quality competition. They’re going to be good this year."
When region play comes around, Johnson expects the Braves to be very competitive.
"Deseret News had us fourth out of six teams in the region, but I’ll be surprised if we’re not first or second," he said. "We’re better in every spot and we’re older this year."
In fact, he added, the Braves have the talent to make it to the state finals, now that perennial 2A powerhouse Wasatch Academy is playing an independent schedule.
"I’m excited," he said. "It’s a group of kids that are hungry for success and now have some experience behind them. I’ve told them that we want to continue to improve. There are going to be bumps along the way, but if we can stay healthy and continue to improve, I honestly think we can make a run to win the whole thing."
The Braves started their season this weekend at the Pepsi Classic, hosted by Ben Lomond High School. On Saturday, they’ll play two games — one against Ben Lomond and one against Ogden. North Summit’s home opener will take place on Dec. 10, when the Braves play host to Duchesne at 7 p.m. in Coalville.
North Summit Boys’ Basketball Schedule
Dec. 4 vs. Carbon (Pepsi Classic) 5:15 p.m.
Dec. 5 vs. St. Joseph (Pepsi Classic) 5:15 p.m.
Dec. 6 vs. Ben Lomond (Pepsi Classic) 1:30 p.m.
Dec. 6 vs. Ogden (Pepsi Classic) 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 10 vs. Duchesne 7 p.m.
Dec. 12 vs. Union (Park City Classic) 5 p.m.
Dec. 13 vs. Park City (Park City Classic) 7 p.m.
Dec. 18 TBD (Flaming Gorge Classic) 7 p.m.
Dec. 19 TBD (Flaming Gorge Classic) 7 p.m.
Dec. 20 TBD (Flaming Gorge Classic) 7 p.m.
Jan. 2 TBD (Big Piney Holiday Tourney) 7 p.m.
Jan. 3 TBD (Big Piney Holiday Tourney) 7 p.m.
Jan. 7 at Grantsville 7 p.m.
Jan. 14 vs. Gunnison 7 p.m.
Jan. 16 at American Leadership 7 p.m.
Jan. 21 at South Summit 7 p.m.
Jan. 23 at Manti 7 p.m.
Jan. 28 vs. Summit Academy 7 p.m.
Jan. 30 at Gunnison 7 p.m.
Feb. 4 vs. American Leadership 7 p.m.
Feb. 6 vs. South Summit 7 p.m.
Feb. 11 at Summit Academy 7 p.m.
Feb. 13 vs. Manti 7 p.m.
The Youth Sports Alliance will host a team scramble golf tournament on June 3 at Victory Ranch in hopes of raising funds for its scholarships and youth programs.