State MVPs came up big when it mattered most

Published: Monday, March 12 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

His leadership from the point guard position was key in many games this year. Even though Orem finished with a 24-1 record, it was still a young team that didn't necessarily blow a lot of teams out. When big plays — or big free throws — were needed down the stretch, the Tigers leaned heavily on Hunsaker's maturity to make the right decision.

"He's fearless when it comes to that competitive spirit. He's one who won't take a play off," said Holt.


Tyler Ott, Desert Hills

Other players scored more points than this Desert Hills senior, but Ott's unselfishness and willingness to share the ball was instrumental in leading the Thunder to the Region 9 title and the top ranking in 3A all season.

Desert Hills' bid for the state title ultimately came up short against Hurricane, but it doesn't take away from what the UC Davis signee accomplished all year as he averaged 13.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals.

"I think he's been a very unselfish player. He could've scored more in some other people's systems," said Desert Hills coach Steve Melessa, who recently retired and believes Ott's 1,032 career points will stand as the school's record for many years to come.

Ott was almost unselfish to a fault, with Melessa saying there were many times the coaching staff would've preferred he shoot instead of pass.

With his leaping ability, Ott was a highlight reel waiting to happen every night. At the next level, with his range from behind the arc, he has the potential to become a pretty good shooting guard if he bulks up a bit on his LDS Church mission.

Melessa said Ott will do whatever it takes to succeed, because that's exactly how he approached his high school career.

"He's one of those kids that kind of fell in love with the game early on. He just put a lot of time in. He's played a lot of basketball," said Melessa.


Race Parsons, South Sevier

The reigning 2A MVP, nobody would've thought any less of Parsons had there been a drop in production this year.

"This year he attracted a lot of attention and he got most teams' best defender guarding him and running at him," said South Sevier coach Scott Hunt.

It didn't really matter. A year after averaging 21.2 points, Parsons upped that production to 24.2 points this year in leading South Sevier to the 2A state title and a 24-1 record. He also averaged 8.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 steals.

"To average over 24 points per game with that kind of target on his back was pretty impressive. I've had a lot of good players, tough-nosed guards, but Race every single night consistently brings his A game," said Hunt.

Parsons has been starting since his freshman year, and South Sevier's record during that three-year stretch is a staggering 72-3.

After scoring 604 points this year, Parsons upped his career total to 1,410. If he maintains that pace during his senior year, he should surpass his grandpa's school record by midseason. Lynn Parsons, who went on to play at BYU, scored 1,711 career points at South Sevier and graduated in 1965.

If Race Parsons scores 590 points next year he would join some very elite company. Only five players in state history have surpassed 2,000 career points, and Spanish Fork's Robbie Reid is the last to do so in 1993.

"We've been pretty lucky to have him for the last three years, and luckily we have him for one more. He's been a good ball player for sure," said Hunt, who added that Parsons is a humble, respectful kid without an arrogant bone in his body.


Justin Johnson, Green River

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere