Made in the shade.
That's a good description of basketball at the 1988 Utah Summer Games.With Thursday's temperatures soaring toward the 100-degree mark and the humidity percentage seemingly as high, most folks stayed away as much as possible from outdoor events, finding basketball - and its comfortable confines - quite appealing.
Better yet, the sport provides some of the best athletic elements available at the Utah Games - a sport nearly everyone understands, competition refined at the region level, and name-recognition players.
The latter is the clincher. In the scholastic division, one can watch next year's Timpview, Richfield or Mountain Crest boys squad or girls teams from Ogden, Orem or Clearfield. Men's open-division players include the likes of Jeff Chatman, Marty Haws, Greg Grant, Reid Newey, Melvin Love and Rhet Parsons. And old-timers include folks like Jim Eakins, Willie Sojourner and Kenny Gardner.
Ah, how Utah folks love their basketball - and their basketball players.
While the actual on-court temperature wasn't as steamy as the weather outside, the play and results were hot, hot, hot.
Woodbury, the men's open team comprised by the likes of former BYU players Tom Gneiting, Brent Stephenson and Glen Roberts, edged the Bears - laden with prospective Salt Lake Community College players by a score of 100-99, thanks to Chatman's game-winning free throw with 37 seconds left.
With two of the six team members fouled out and Scott Runia slightly hobbled by an injury, Woodbury survived a four-on-five man disadvantage through the closing three minutes.
In an opening-round contest, Canadian National Team member Karl Tilleman scored 11 three-pointers and finished with 40 points to aid Woodbury past Raymond Construction, a makeshift team of current and former Utah State players.
Woodbury will meet a Pro Image team from the North Region - featuring more Utah State names such as Newey, the Grant brothers and Chris McMullen - in Saturday's gold-medal game for the men's open championship.
Need some more name-recognition-type competition? In the men's scholastic division, the Timpview High team of Rocky Mountain Hoops downed Mountain Crest 1, 76-67, in a literal rematch of the last March's 3A state high school championship game. In Saturday's gold-medal finals, Rocky Mountain Hoops will face American Fork.
And in the men's masters bracket, the Salt Lake top-seeded Ringers - featuring Eakins, Gardner and others - broke open a close game by downing Sojourner's Motta's Army, 83-59. The Ringers will face Salt Lake counterpart South Valley in the master's finals Saturday.
As of 10 p.m. Thursday, 1,116 medals had been awarded, with nearly half given to Salt Lake Region athletes.
The regional breakdown of the gold medals is: Salt Lake, 201; North, 95; Central, 69; South, 68.
The regional breakdown of all medals awarded is: Salt Lake, 506; North, 250; South, 184; Central, 176.
The pairings for Saturday's gold-medal scholastic-age finals are already set, pitting Clearfield representing the North and the Valley Stars from the Salt Lake region.
The best citizens-class criterium time was logged by Salt Lake City's Russ Fill, who won the men's open gold. The top time in the licensed-cyclist division came in the men's 14-15 category, where Gavin Storie and Dave Francis, both of Provo, earned times of 26:57 minutes, with Storie edging out Francis for the gold.
Sandy's Angel Worthen earned two golds and a silver in Thursday's scholastic division in the national match course, 50-meter small bore, and 25-meter rapid-fire competitions. And in the open division, Paul Difrancesco took a triple treat - a gold, bronze and silver - in the same competitions.