OREM — It wasn't exactly a beautifully crafted work of art in The Great Zuke Challenge at Utah Valley University.
Despite committing 22 turnovers in its opening boys basketball game of the season, Weber rolled past Maple Mountain 66-47 on Wednesday afternoon.
"You never know what to expect. You play against each other for three weeks, beat up on your JV a little bit — summer was so long ago — you never know," said Warriors coach Mark Larsen. "We knew that Maple Mountain had some kids that were good and they're a well-coached team. We thought they were going to come out and (we're) fortunate that we got up on them early and were able to hold on."
Weber didn't look like it was playing in its first game of the 2011-12 season in the early minutes. On the opening possession, Jordan Jones, isolated off a screen at the top of the key, made a violent backdoor cut to the cup and threw down an alley-oop dunk. The Warriors proceeded to connect on 8-of-11 attempts in the first four minutes to take a quick 17-3 lead.
"We came out and executed really well out of the gates. We got a few easy buckets out of execution that I felt helped us," said Larsen.
The ability to get to the rim off of multiple sets was apparent from the beginning. The Warriors, out of 27 made field goals, had 22 gimmies.
"A lot of layups," agreed Larsen. "I think the kids and the chemistry; we work on it a lot. We put in our offense a year ago with the same kids and we've been working on it for a year, and now they're starting to get in the right spot."
Throughout the game, the Golden Eagles showed glimpses of success and started to close the gap. But each time, Weber turned to point guard Hayden Schenck, who made sure Weber never relinquished its double-digit lead.
The junior finished with a game-high 23 points and was awarded the most valuable player of the game by the tournament committee.
"He's a tremendous player. I think he's one of the best point guards around. Last year he played for us and he was about 5-10 and now he's about 6-2," said Larsen. "He's put on about 20 pounds of muscle. He's a tremendous kid and a great leader. Hayden is a great decision-maker. If no one cuts him off, he's going all the way."
The Warriors were especially stingy on defense, holding Maple Mountain to 18-for-58 shooting from the floor and forcing eight turnovers.
"It was a good game; we all worked hard as a team," said Schenck. "We worked hard in the offseason, so it's starting to pay off."
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