High school boys basketball: Hayden Schenck, Weber Warriors make triumphant return to 5A tournament
OGDEN — A year ago, Weber High's Hayden Schenck suffered a cruel twist of fate when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during the Warriors' 5A state tournament opener.
It's a potentially career-threatening injury and one that takes months of rehabilitation, but Schenck wasn't about to miss his senior season. So he worked his tail off to get ready to play again.
A year later, Schenck's knee is fully healed. The senior star led the Warriors' charge to the 2013 Region 1 championship, and now he and his teammates have their sights set on making some noise in this year's 5A state tournament.
With that goal in mind, Weber made its tourney debut Monday and used a strong second-half showing to whip West High, 68-39, at the Dee Events Center. The win sends the Warriors (20-3) into the 5A quarterfinals against Alta, which advanced with a 65-61 victory over Bingham. The Weber-Alta clash will tip off Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Schenck — a 6-foot-3 point guard who's the state's leading 5A scorer with an average of 26.3 points per game during the regular season — scored just five points in the first half of Monday's game.
Over the first two quarters, Schenck shed his scorer's role for one of distributing the ball to his teammates in helping get each of them into the flow of the game and facilitating the Warriors' offense.
"At practice with my teammates, they're always open and making shots, and I just felt like the first half I should get everyone involved," Schenck said. "It's a big-game atmosphere and they were hitting their shots and we were getting everyone involved. It turned out to be everyone playing together as a team and it worked in our favor.
"I don't really care how much I score as long as we get that win at the end of the day. I try to get a lot of steals and a lot of assists rather than just scoring, and it'll just come. I try to get my teammates open and just put us in the best position possible."
In the second half, however, Schenk came out and started taking the ball hard to the basket, scoring 12 of his game-high 17 points after halftime as Weber steadily pulled away from a spunky but outmanned West squad.
After what happened to him a year ago, Schenck admitted that getting back to the tournament with his teammates was something special.
"It definitely was because last year it was our first state game when I went out," he said, "so there was a lot of emotions and a lot of jitters before this game and I was really excited. It felt really good just to get out there with my teammates and have our community behind us.
"I've been looking forward to this since last year. That was my goal, to come back to the state tournament with my teammates, and I was fortunate to do it and it was a fun game. ... That was a tough day (a year ago), going down and watching my teammates play when I knew I could be out there helping them. So to come back and do this, it's been fun to do it with my teammates.
"It's a ton of rehab every single day that I had to do, and I did it hours a day for weeks and months at a time, and my teammates and my family were always there helping me," Schenck said. "It was always my goal to be back in the state tournament this year. I've always wanted to play in the Dee Events Center, so it was really a special moment to come here and play and be back from my knee injury. And my knee felt good and everything felt fine, so it was really exciting and it was a good moment for me."
Along with his 17 points, Schenck also handed out nine assists, grabbed eight rebounds and swiped five steals in a state sheet-filling performance.
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