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West Jordan Journal

Grizzlies prepare for season-ending tournament

Mar 09, 2023 11:43AM ● By Greg James

Tight games help Grizzlies photo 2: Copper Hills has had 12 games this season decided by five points or less. (Photo courtesy of

The Copper Hills boys basketball team has cornered the market on close games this season. A large percentage of their games have been decided by five points or less.

“Our games all year have been down to the wire. It is nothing new for us,” Grizzlies head coach John Watkins said after a nail bitter win over Riverton. “We have only had a couple of games where it has not been a one-possession game. Our boys are pretty familiar with that situation. We have lost a few of them, but hopefully, it is becoming a chance for us to learn from these moments.”

In the final home game of the season, the Grizzlies carried a lead throughout most of the contest. Riverton kept it close. With five minutes remaining junior Logan Weidauer grabbed a missed free throw, banked in the shot and was fouled to stretch out the lead. Copper Hills’ defense held down the stretch and Weidauer sealed the 64-55 win over Riverton with some late free throws. 

“In this game, we made some defensive stances. We got some steals and rebounds and that helped us out,” Watkins said.

Copper Hills has had 12 of its 20 games decided by five points or less. Keeping the team’s composure has been difficult, but freshman point guard Isaiah Reiser has held his ground.

“He probably averages the most minutes in the state. He (Reiser) is part of a family that has put in the time and effort. I knew last spring when I watched him play, he was mature enough to play varsity basketball. Mentally and physically he shows it every game,” Watkins said.

The 5-foot-10 point guard has averaged three assists per game and nearly 9.5 points. He scored 23 points in the road loss at Riverton on Jan. 20.

“We have players that work hard. Logan (Weidauer) is probably top six in the state in scoring,” Watkins said.

Weidauer has averaged 18.9 points per game along with nearly seven rebounds. 

“Kyson (Hymas) was our only returning starter from last year. He does big things for us. He has big buckets, plays big defense and gets rebounds. We have had great games from Ashtyn Howick and Josh Pommerening comes in and does a lot of little things for the team. They are a group that likes to play for each other. I don’t always see that. It makes us hard to beat. It is fun to coach that,” Watkins said.

The Grizzlies are tied with the Bingham Miners for second place in Region 3 at the press deadline. The last week of the regular season includes scheduled games at West Jordan and Mountain Ridge. 

The UHSAA final RPI rankings will be released following the regular season to determine seeding for the state playoffs. They are scheduled to begin on Feb. 22 at the high seeds home sites. 

Last season Copper Hills went into the state tournament ranked sixth overall. They lost in the second round to Skyridge 56-55.

“This is a team that even with some gut punches shows up the next day and says ‘let’s go,’” Watkins said. “We need to win the hustle stuff. If we can stretch the court and hit outside shots to help us get to the rim; of course, if we can limit our turnovers, most likely it will come down to the end like it has all season. If we can make the big buckets, then we will be there. Kids like these players. They want to win a basketball game for their team.”