WEST VALLEY CITY Listen closely to the public address announcer at any game involving Granger and you will likely hear phrases like "Tapusoa for two" and "Tapusoa for three" quite frequently.
Those are words Lancer fans certainly enjoy hearing after seeing how much success the Tapusoa family has brought to the boys basketball program in the past couple of seasons.
In the program's breakout season under former coach Justin Nelson a year ago, Ray Tapusoa and Isaiah Tapusoa were integral to the Lancers reaching the 4A quarterfinals.
This season is no different with three Tapusoas Ray, T.J. and Isaiah all playing major roles in helping Granger rise to the top of Region 6. The trio comprise three of the team's top four scorers with Ray leading the way at 18.2 points per game.
Healthy competition drives the Tapusoas. But it doesn't detract from a close bond formed while spending their childhood years together on the basketball court. Being part of a tight family has, in essence, become a building block for the team as a whole.
"We already have chemistry as a family," Ray said. "We take that on the court and give it to our team."
What they also impart to their team is a freewheeling offensive style which has kept opponents on their toes especially when it comes to Ray Tapusoa.
Ray leads Granger in scoring for a second straight season. Starting with a 77-66 overtime win against Dixie where he scored a game high 34 points the junior has averaged 21 points per game in his last four games.
And his confidence in his shot shows. In a 60-53 win at Cyprus last Friday, Ray made a series of impossible shots to build up a commanding lead. It all began with a three-pointer which hung on the lip of the rim for several seconds before dropping through the net to make it 20-5. It climaxed with a driving layup to end the first half where he started from halfcourt and wove through three Pirate defenders.
The Tapusoas all embrace this living-on-the-edge style of offense.
"We like to put smiles on people's faces at Granger," T.J. said.
Creating happy fans shouldn't be a problem if the Lancers can re-create their playoff success from a year ago. Granger provided some of the most exciting games in the entire 4A tournament, winning on a tip-in against Box Elder in the first round and then taking eventual champion Provo to overtime in the next round.
Holding their own against some of the better teams in the state has made the Lancers hungry to accomplish even more this season.
"It gave us a boost of confidence," Ray said.So far, Granger has looked like a team to beat. Since starting the season 0-2, the Lancers have won seven of eight including their first three region games against East, Cyprus and Olympus. But the real test of where they stand in Region 6 will come next week in a three-game stretch against Murray, Cottonwood and West.
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