South Summit Wildcats basketball faces a strong region
South Summit basketball coach Dusty Hatch said his team is “doing OK.”
“We have our ups and downs,” he said in a phone call on Thursday.
The team is 6-4 right now after a string of three tough losses — the most recent was by a buzzer beater in overtime against Manti.
“We’re still trying to get through football,” he said. “Still trying to get the boys to focus on basketball.”
After winning the Class 3A state football championship, the players that came over to basketball have been involved in lingering post-season ceremonies, Hatch said.
Upon closer examination, the Wildcats’ record is deceiving. Many of the teams they have faced so far have been in Class 4A, including Ogden, Uintah, Ben Lomond and Park City. With the Exception of Ogden, those were all wins for the Wildcats.
What complicates their season is that 3A is strong this year.
“At one point, our whole region was ranked in one position or another,” Hatch said. “That’s fluctuated throughout the season, but Morgan is really good, Grantsville is really good. … That’s why we’re playing these bigger schools, so when we get into our region we are used to that kind of play.”
According to MaxPreps.com, the website the Utah High School Activities Association uses to keep track of individual games, Grand County is statistically ranked 12th in the state, while Emery is 15th, Morgan is 17th and Grantsville is 19th – all are 3A.
Meanwhile there are about 85 larger teams in the state.
The tough competition South Summit is slated to face is why Hatch isn’t thrilled about the Wildcats’ record so far.
He said offensively, the team is doing well. It has seniors that can score, such as Ryan Griffin and Justin Worthen, and a good leader in Kael Atkinson (who was also quarterback during the football season). With Jared Dansie at point guard, and Bruce Mitchell at post rounding out the team’s starters, while Parker Grajek and Jackson Lassche come off the bench, Hatch said all of his players can score. But defensively the team is struggling.
“We’re allowing almost 70 points a game defensively, so that’s one of our focuses right now,” Hatch said. “We have to start holding teams to 50 points or less if we are going to be successful in our region. A lot of them have high-powered offenses.”
So the Wildcats (ranked 47th by Max Preps) will focus on off-the-ball coverage and preventing drives before they start region play on Jan. 9.
“Hopefully we’ll be ready for it,” Hatch said.
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The Miners ended up on the wrong side of a close game on senior night but are still fighting for playoff seeding.