Expectations High For Grizzly Basketball
Jan 23, 2015 09:11AM
● By Greg James
Grizzlies junior Preston Sanchez is the team’s leading scorer and helped lead them into the state tournament last season. Photo courtesy of dbaphotography.com
The Copper Hills boys basketball team might need to borrow the invisibility cloak from Harry Potter. After last season’s state tournament quarterfinals loss to Davis, they will no longer be able to sneak up on the competition.
“We have a pretty good team. Playing in the state tournament last year gave us experience playing in an intense atmosphere. We are not going to surprise many teams this year. I look forward to us getting better as we go along,” Grizzlies head coach Andrew Blanchard said.
The Grizzlies began this season winning eight of the team’s first nine games. Their loss was to Herriman 70-63 on Dec. 5, a game that they trailed by 13 heading into the fourth quarter. Sophomore Stockton Shorts and junior Preston Sanchez combined for 28 points in the loss.
The Grizzlies traveled to San Diego again this season, to participate in the Surf ‘n Slam holiday tournament Dec. 27-30. In the tournament, they beat County Day, La. 54-52, but lost their final two games, (59-56) to Granite Bay, Calif. and 59-55 to Bergen Catholic, N.J.
Sanchez is the team’s leading scorer. He is averaging 14.8 points per game. Blanchard said he is a spark plug on the team.
“We have a lot of players that contribute big for us. They are all spark plugs. We really want to give Porter (Hawkins) opportunities to score inside, and Charlie (Olsen) has been gaining in confidence. We have some high expectations for him. We really pride ourselves in being prepared to face our opponents,” Blanchard said.
Olsen, a junior, has hit 26 three-pointers to lead the team. He scored a career 21 points in the Grizzlies (82-47) victory over Taylorsville Dec. 19.
“I am working on my shot. I have been getting to the gym and throwing up as many shots as I can. I have been working on my form. Our team really does not feel any pressure. We just want to relax and enjoy the season,” Olsen said.
Junior 6-foot-8 center Hawkins has averaged 4.9 rebounds per game and 13.5 points. The Grizzlies began play in Region 3 Jan. 13 with a 66-51 loss to Brighton.
“These are great kids. They have a 3.7 team grade point average, well above our team goal of 3.5. These kids have a good influence on the team and on our school,” Blanchard said.
The state tournament is scheduled to begin Monday, Feb. 23 at Weber State University.