This is a great opportunity for us to go out and play great teams and its the perfect way to start the season. To have all these great teams come in to our place is a great opportunity for us and for the other local schools. —Orem boy's basketball coach Golden Holt
OREM — The Great Western Shootout has become everything Orem coach Golden Holt imagined it would be and more in its second year. Holt started the tournament with the hope of promoting the great and often overlooked basketball in the state along with providing great regional out-of-state competition.
Mission accomplished. Thursday night saw the fans come out to see great play from every school represented.
I couldnt be more thrilled to go out there and see more or less a full house, Holt said. A lot of that credit goes to Lone Peak. We know that when you bring in Lone Peak that the fans follow them, so were excited that coach Quincy Lewis has been so gracious in taking time out of his packed schedule to do this tournament. This tournament has really surpassed my wildest dreams.
The Knights, who are ranked no. 3 nationally by Maxpreps, headlined the first night of games and didnt disappoint. After a somewhat sluggish start against Foothill high from Las Vegas, Nev., the players ratcheted up the defensive pressure and won going away 72-38.
Orem had the stage next and didnt disappoint with a convincing 68-46 victory over Basha High School from Chandler, Ariz. It was the first game of the year for the Tigers, but it certainly didnt look that way.
This is a great opportunity for us to go out and play great teams and its the perfect way to start the season, Holt said. To have all these great teams come in to our place is a great opportunity for us and for the other local schools.
BYU commit Dalton Nixon led the Tigers with 18 points, seven rebounds and five steals. Jordan Darger added 15 points and 10 rebounds with point guard Zach Hunsaker providing seven assists and 12 points.
In the first game West Jordan used a stellar final two minutes of play to beat South Sevier 57-49. The Jaguars were down 49-45 with just two and a half minutes remaining, but scored the final 12 points of the game to come away with the win.
Denver-East is largely considered the best out-of-state team in the tournament and it looked the part in a 68-60 win over Bountiful. The Braves fought hard and were boosted by Zach Seljaas and his 29 points and eight 3-point baskets, but came up just short.
Fridays slate of games has Bountiful taking on South Sevier at 3:30pm followed by West Jordan matching up against Basha at 5pm. Orem then takes the court against Foothill at 6:45 capped off by Lone Peak vs. Denver-East at 8:15pm.