West Jordan boys basketball finds success
By Greg James | firstname.lastname@example.org
The season began with some low points, but the West Jordan High School boys basketball team has found success. It is hoping its early region wins will lead to a return to the state tournament.
“I am really proud of this team,” said head coach Scott Briggs. “There are a lot of high school teams that get down by double digits, and they pack their bags and call it a night. We have shown tremendous character in playing as a team. We feel good and have taken good steps forward. We have some potential.”
The Jaguars had fallen behind by double digits in the fourth quarter against Layton on Dec. 9. Seniors Collin Larson and Connor Manglinong held their collective breath and jointly scored 14 points, including a last-second three-pointer by Manglinong to send the game into overtime. They ended up losing their third game of their first four and seemed to be headed in the wrong direction.
Layton was a state semifinal team last season and had ousted the Jaguars from the state tournament last spring, 54-38. Briggs said despite the loss, the game was a step forward for the team. The loss followed five wins in the next six games. The holiday break ended, and the Jaguars had elevated their overall record to 7-5.
The non-region results prepared the team to enter its Region 3 competition.
“Our region is a daunting task,” Briggs said. “Everyone is playing better than I expected. We will just concentrate on getting better every night.”
Junior Darrian Nebeker leads the team in scoring with a 12.6 points per-game average. At 6-feet-4, he is tallest player on the team and is forced to defend much taller players.
“We are not a big team, but our front-line players play bigger than they are,” Briggs said. “We have some small guards that are playing as scrappy as they can. We will not grow three inches before the next game, so we will work with what we have.”
The Jaguars’ hot outside shooting will need to continue for them to stay successful. Another of the team’s strengths is its free-throw shooting. The team averages 75 percent from the charity stripe. By comparison, the Jazz average just over 76.
“Collin is a two-year starter and plays like ice,” Briggs said. “The tighter the game, the better he plays. He is out there to win. Connor is the same; we need them both to hit shots for us to win.”
Region 3 boasts last season's state championship finalists, Bingham and Copper Hills. The Jaguars hope to qualify for the state tournament for the second year in a row.
The 5A state tournament is scheduled to begin Feb.27 at the University of Utah, Utah Valley University and Weber State University.