South Summit boys’ basketball looks ahead to 2015 |

South Summit boys’ basketball looks ahead to 2015

The South Summit High School boys’ basketball team has not been able to catch a break this season. After finishing third in 2A last season, this year’s Wildcats have had just about everything possible go wrong.

First, senior leader Ty Jones went down with a hip/groin injury. Then, a wave of illnesses swept through the team. In the midst of all that, the Wildcats have dropped close game after close game en route to a 2-7 record.

After one close loss against Jerome, Idaho, and a blowout loss to Bear River on Dec. 18 and 20, respectively, the Wildcats are ready to turn the page to 2015.

"I told them I didn’t even want them picking up a ball over Christmas break," Coach Dusty Hatch said. "It seemed like they were burned out and we haven’t even really started yet."

The first item of business will be a total overhaul of the defensive scheme, which hasn’t been effective so far this season.

"We’re really poor defensively," Hatch said. "That’s disheartening because I pride myself on team defense. It’s not that we’re not capable of playing defense — we have the athletes — we just won’t."

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A lack of communication may be to blame for a majority of those problems, he added.

"That’s exactly our problem," he said. "We don’t communicate well defensively. Usually, you see chemistry issues on the offensive end — guys don’t want to pass the ball and guys who are worried about scoring enough points. We don’t seem too concerned about who’s scoring, though."

That lackluster defense is what Hatch thinks is causing the Wildcats to struggle in close games. Of their seven losses, four have come by six points or less.

Hatch said a change is in order before the 2015 slate of games kicks off against Duchesne in Kamas on Friday night.

"We’re practicing [Monday] and we are going to revamp our whole defensive scheme," he said. "We’re basically starting over from scratch at midseason."

Hatch acknowledged that part of the blame rests on him. Last year, with a senior class that featured Beau Rydalch, Brad Richins and Steven Flinders, not much coaching needed to be done.

"I think I got in a comfort zone where I didn’t really have to coach my guys last year," he said. "This year, I’m going to have to do a better job of coaching. I have to do a better job of recognizing the kind of talent I have and adjusting to that so we can be successful."

The early part of 2015 should be just what the doctor ordered for the Wildcats. They start the year with two home games (one on Jan. 2 against Duchesne and one on Jan. 9 against North Sanpete) and then travel to Rich before region play starts on Jan. 14. Hatch hopes playing at home for only the second and third times so far this year will jump-start his team’s energy.

"We’ve been struggling in the first quarter and the third quarter," he said. "Being at home, we should have a higher sense of urgency than on the road."

With that boost, Hatch hopes the Wildcats can start winning some of these close games.

"You look at a lot of the games and we’ve lost by one or two points," he said. "At least you can say one possession here and one possession there and we win. The problem is these are teams I feel like we should be beating by 10 points."

Friday’s game against Duchesne (4-5) in Kamas is scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m.