Who would think that a prep basketball team representing a school with a mere 70-student enrollment and a city of 700 residents could enjoy successes such as 32-game home winning streak, lofty locations in the weekly rankings, and frequent Final Four tournament finishes
Such is the case at Green River, a relative unknown hotbed of 1A prep hoops.The Pirates of the state's 1A classification haven't lost at home since 1986, with the unhospitable hosts racking up 32 straight homecourt triumphs. And the competition for Coach Stan Parsons' 7-2 team hasn't been a pack of patsies - the Pirates have beaten strong or tradition-rich 1A teams like Bryce Valley, Duchesne and Tabiona. And the two losses have been a three-pointer to 2A ranked San Juan (avenged by Green River last week) and a one-pointer to Grand Junction, a 5A team from Colorado.
And the Green River contingent held its own during summer-camp competition at the College of Eastern Utah, playing nearly even with - and oftimes defeating - higher-classification teams Cottonwood, Springville, Orem, Granite and Uintah.
The Pirates are hoping to take a step up come state tournament time in March, with Green River having placed third and second the previous two seasons.
Leading Green River's main rotation of six players is 6-3 senior Gary Quarnberg and 6-9 junior Leon Carter. A fourth-year varsity player and three-year starter, Quarnberg is averaging 21 points game, while Carter is averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds a game.
A couple of outstanding all-around performances from the scoring information and summaries reported to the Deseret News from last week's games - Bonneville sophomore Dave Sivulich made six 3-pointers, hit 8 of 10 free throws and finished with 30 points against Layton. And Manti's Mark Neilson's 29 points against Park City included five treys and a 10-of-13 outing from the line.
A couple of players passed the 30-point mark, as Carbon's Curtis Cook tallied 32 against Lehi and ICS' Jeremy Heiser scored 31 vs. Manila. And Dugway's Steve DeWitt had a twice-nice scoring effort last week, finishing with 25 points against Wendover in a midweek game and earning another 28 in a weekend contest against Meridian.
Others who broke the 25-point game-scoring barrier included Ogden's Brandon Parker (29 vs. Bear River), Emery's Jared Butler (29 vs. Lehi), Brighton's Alex Fisher (28 vs. Skyline), Cyprus' Cade Osborn (28 vs. Kearns), S.L. Lutheran's Dan Herrmann (28 vs. Waterford), Layton's Lance Dunkley (26 vs. Weber), Spanish Fork's Kent Cook (26 vs. Payson), Sky View's Shane Mecham (26 vs. Ben Lomond), ICS' Neil Smith (26 vs. Manila), Tintic's Ryan Renzello (26 vs. Rowland Hall), Hunter's Dan Hancock (25 vs. Granger), Murray's Kevin Carlston (25 vs. Tooele), Monticello's David Adams (26 vs. Altamont), Dugway's Ray Wright (25 vs. Meridian).
Park City's Justin Christensen canned a half-dozen 3-pointers in the Miners' victory over Manti, and Alta's Justin Barlow buried five 3s in the Hawks' OT upset of Cottonwood. Meanwhile, a whole host of players made four treys in single-game outings.
They include Highland's David Smith (4 vs. Brighton), American Fork's Nate Jones (4 vs. Provo), Provo's Kip Rollins (4 vs. American Fork), Brighton's Alex Fisher (4 vs. Skyline), Kearns' Peter Alusa (4 vs. Cyprus), Mountain Crest's Jeff Thatcher (4 vs. Ogden), Emery's Nathan Huntington (4 vs. Uintah), South Sevier's Spencer Adams (4 vs. Delta), and Richfield's Ashley Steck (4 vs. Hurricane).
Here's some team extremes when it comes to free throws - Granite hit 16 of 17 against Jordan, while Mount Vernon neither made a FT nor attempted one in the Patriots' 95-39 victory over West Desert.
Only a handful of players earned double-digit trips to the line and finished with respectable percentages. Emery's Jared Butler hit 9-of-10 against Lehi, Richfield's Justin Brown 9-of-11 vs. Hurricane, Viewmont's 8-of-10 vs. Clearfield, Park City's 14-17 vs. Manti.
Alta's OT victory over Cottonwood was not only an overtime upset of the state's top-ranked 4A team - it marked the third OT victory for the Hawks in their last three games. And remember when Taylorsville outscored Hillcrest 3-0 in the final period last week as the Warriors upset the third-ranked Huskies 32-31? On the same night, Davis scored 34 points in the fourth quarter alone in the Darts' 75-61 victory over Weber.
A few midweek matchups merit mention, starting with Tuesday. Former No. 1 Davis at No. 5 Bonneville in Region 1 has some promise, with the Darts yet to win on the road this season; the West Jordan-Hillcrest pairing looked good until the two teams combined for three losses last week; and two games in Region 6 - Bountiful at Murray and Tooele at Woods Cross - involve four of the league's top five teams.
And the best Wedneday contest has top-ranked Spanish Fork visiting No. 4 Springville, with both teams sporting unbeaten records in Region 8 play.
Pardon us if we look ahead to the weekend - it's worth it, we think.
In Region 4, top-ranked Timpview hosts second-ranked Provo in one of the state's top tradition-rich prep hoop matchups- both are 3-0 in league play. Another pairing of 4A ranked teams has No. 5 Bonneville visiting No. 4 Viewmont in Region 1 play, while another pairing of league unbeatens has North Summit traveling to Rich.
Other top league contests - Sky View and Box Elder could still meet with undefeated records in Region 5; the Bingham-Cyprus matchup in Region 3 is likely to be banger; and the importance of the Highland-Alta contest could improve if both teams down midweek foes.
Other Friday games of note - a pair of formerly ranked Region 13 peers, Duchesne and Tabiona, open up division play; the four league leaders in Region 9 pair up as Morgan meets North Sanpete and South Summit travels to Juab; and top-ranked Piute plays at defending champion Panguitch in a Region 12 contest Saturday.
Deseret News Coaches poll
Five coaches from each size classification - with each region represented by at least one coach - comprise the selection board. Five points are awarded for each first-place vote, four for a second, three for a third, etc.
Team Record Pts.
1. Timpview (14-0) 25
2. Provo (12-1) 20
3. Cottonwood (9-2) 14
4. Viewmont (9-2) 8
5. Bonneville (9-2) 4
Others receiving votes: Hillcrest, Alta
1. Spanish Fork (11-2) 24
2. Sky View (10-1) 21
3. Jordan (5-6) 9
4. Springville (7-5) 8
5. Murray (6-6) 4
Others receiving votes: Ogden, Pine View, Union, Box Elder, Tooele
1. South Summit (8-2) 24
2. North Sevier (7-1) 20
3. San Juan (10-1) 13
4. Hurricane (5-3) 9
5. Morgan (7-2) 6
Others receiving votes: Richfield, North Sanpete
1. Piute (10-1) 23
2. Green River (7-2) 22
3. Rowland Hall (9-1) 11
4. Whitehorse (10-1) 9
5. Dugway (7-3) 5
Others receiving votes: Monticello, Parowan, Duchesne