South Summit boys’ basketball aims to score more in 2015-16
Thanks to South Summit High School’s outstanding football team, Dusty Hatch, the boys’ basketball coach, is used to getting a late start to the season.
Though practice could have begun last Monday (Nov. 9), the football team played in the state championship game on Nov. 14, so Hatch waited until this Monday to begin tryouts.
"I only had two kids who played football on the varsity team," Hatch said. "But I had a bunch of sophomores and all my freshmen on the team, so we decided to wait."
That’s become business as usual for Hatch, as the Wildcats have made deep runs in the football playoffs the last three years.
"I’m used to it now," he laughed.
Now basketball season is fully underway, Hatch has had a chance to assess his squad that will feature four new starters.
"I only have one returning starter and that’s Mason Gines," he said. "But I felt like my younger kids got a lot of good experience last year when they were sophomores, so I feel pretty good about things."
However, Hatch continued, there are a couple of noticeable weak spots with this year’s team.
"We have no size and we’re not very fast, which isn’t a good combination," he laughed. "But I do think we shoot the ball better. Offensively, we’ll be a much better team. Last year, we couldn’t score unless it was a layup. That put us in some situations where if teams were bigger than us, we struggled. This year, we shoot better from the perimeter than probably any team I’ve coached."
Still, losing a group of seniors that included Ty Jones, Bracken Santos and Jason Griffin hurt, Hatch said.
"We’re not as good defensively," he said. "Last year, we had Bracken and Ty who were just tenacious defensively. They made it easier for their teammates because they were such good defenders. This year, we don’t have that type of player, so we’re going to have to be better as a team defensively."
Though he can’t coach size and speed, Hatch said he’s eager to coach the players on his defensive schemes. Plus, he added, this year’s team should score more points, taking some pressure off the defense.
"I’m optimistic about our chances because we are better offensively," he said. "I also feel like we can coach them into a better defensive team. It’s going to take some time, but our chemistry is good, too, so that will help us defensively."
The Wildcats will count on several new players to step into starting roles. Among those will be a mix of juniors and seniors.
"We have Tanner Anderson, who’s a senior," Hatch said. "He played sparingly last year, but he’s really improved this year. He’s probably our best on-ball defender. Caleb Peterson, another senior, will be an off-the-bench type of guy who comes in and gives us a lot of effort and a lot of energy. [Juniors] Kaden Atkinson and Nick Beasley got a lot of good minutes last year. They both shoot the ball well. Nick is more of a playmaker than Kaden, but Kaden is a really good three-point shooter."
The Wildcats’ region changed during the UHSAA realignment to start this school year. Gone are Gunnison and Manti, with Maeser Prep and Providence Hall in their stead.
"I really liked the region we were in last year," Hatch said. "I liked playing Manti and Gunnison because you knew every year who you were playing. This year, we’re in with more of the private charter schools. I really don’t know much about who we’re playing because they fluctuate so much. Summit Academy is really good. They got a 6-foot-11 kid and a 6-foot-10 kid, in addition to their 6-foot-7 kid. I don’t know too much about them other than that they’re going to be huge. North Summit’s also going to be big. They have the Richins twins [Mason and Braden]. I look for North Summit to be very competitive. Summit Academy, with that size, is going to create problems. I think they’re probably the team to beat and then I think North Summit is right after that."
Though Hatch has those two teams ranked ahead of the Wildcats, he said he thinks this year’s squad can make a case for a region title if they improve defensively.
"In 2A overall, there’s not really a dominant team that I know of," he said. "I think we can be right in that mix. The way we shoot the ball, if we can become better defensively, I think we’ll be all right."
South Summit’s season begins on Nov. 24 at Tabiona. The Wildcats’ first home game is scheduled for Dec. 18 against Uintah at 7 p.m.
South Summit Boys’ Basketball Schedule
Nov. 24 — at Tabiona — 7 p.m.
Dec. 3-5 — at Pepsi Classic
Dec. 9 — at North Sanpete — 7 p.m.
Dec. 11 — vs. Park City (at Park City Classic) — 7 p.m.
Dec. 12 — vs. Union (at Park City Classic) — 5:15 p.m.
Dec. 17 — at Morgan — 7 p.m.
Dec. 18 — vs. Uintah — 7 p.m.
Dec. 30 — at Manti — 7 p.m.
Jan. 8 — vs. Bear River — 7 p.m.
Jan. 13 — vs. Providence Hall — 7 p.m.
Jan. 15 — at Summit Academy — 7 p.m.
Jan. 16 — vs. Rich — 7 p.m.
Jan. 20 — vs. Maeser Prep — 7 p.m.
Jan. 22 — at American Leadership — 7 p.m.
Jan. 27 — vs. North Summit — 7 p.m.
Jan. 29 — at Providence Hall — 7 p.m.
Feb. 3 — vs. Summit Academy — 7 p.m.
Feb. 5 — at Maeser Prep — 7 p.m.
Feb. 10 — vs. American Leadership — 7 p.m.
Feb. 12 — at North Summit — 7 p.m.
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Tosh Martin, a Park City High School junior, was the Miners’ sole selection to the Class 4A UHSAA All-State soccer first team.