Wildcat boys stay hot in region play | ParkRecord.com

Wildcat boys stay hot in region play

The South Summit High School boys’ basketball team is hitting its stride at the perfect time.

After struggling to win early in the season, the Wildcats are now 3-1 in region play and have won three straight.

On Friday night, the Wildcats hosted the American Leadership Academy Eagles. South Summit scored early and often, amassing a 19-10 lead through one quarter of play en route to a comfortable 65-41 victory.

One of the best signs for the Wildcats was the balanced scoring — nine different players scored in the win. Coach Dusty Hatch said the up-tempo offense the team has been using since Christmas break is responsible for the scoring boost.

"We tweaked what we were doing offensively," he said. "We’re trying to push the ball more because we’ve struggled scoring in the half court. It’s just a matter of who wants to get out and run. I think we only had two or three three-point shots in that game. A lot of that is we were getting to the rim early and scoring in the open court. In the open court, we feel we can score more easily."

Mason Gines led the Wildcats with 14 points on the night. Bracken Santos was the only other South Summit player to score in double digits, piling up 10 points. Jason Griffin added nine points and Ty Jones (seven), Zach Atkinson (six), Nic Beasley (six), Brandon Dansie (six), Matt Brady (five) and Tanner Anderson (one) also contributed.

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The Wildcats’ energy was at a season high on Friday night as well, Hatch added.

"First off, our five guys that started played with a lot of energy to start the game," he said. "Then, when I went to the bench, they fed off the starters’ energy. Winning kind of contributes to that, I think. We’re finally starting to get excited about playing."

Hatch has been impressed with Dansie’s play. Only a sophomore, Dansie has contributed important minutes so far in region play.

"He has been playing well," Hatch said. "Statistically, his efficiency rating is high [meaning he makes the most of his limited minutes] and he scores well. He’s really smart and has a high basketball IQ. We feel like we can put him in tight situations because of his intelligence."

This week, the Wildcats face two tough challenges. On Wednesday night, they host region-leading Manti. Then, on Friday night, they travel to Summit Academy to take on the Bears. Summit Academy handed South Summit its only Region 16 loss thus far a couple weeks ago.

Hatch said Manti presents several matchup problems for the Wildcats. But, he added, smart basketball will be key if South Summit hopes to win.

"They’re athletic and they have a couple big kids," he said. "The thing they do well is they really put pressure on you. The keys to that game will be our shot selection and limiting our turnovers against their pressure. They’re scoring 80-90 points a game in their wins and that’s because teams are turning the ball over against them."

Wednesday’s game in Kamas between South Summit (6-10 overall, 3-1 in Region 16) and Manti (11-5, 4-0) is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.