There was no pressure on the Stansbury boys basketball team coming into Friday’s Class 4A second-round state tournament game against Sky View — and, through much of the first three quarters, the Stallions played like it.
No. 12 Stansbury led No. 5 Sky View 31-30 at halftime, and trailed by just five points entering the fourth quarter. However, the Bobcats eventually got things going and pulled away for a 71-54 win over the Stallions at Sky View High School in Smithfield, bringing Stansbury’s season to a close.
“We had to press a little bit too hard and then it went south in a hurry,” Stansbury coach Joe White said. “The score was not indicative of how the game went. There were some things that we could have done better, but we played our guts out. We were down three points with five minutes to go, and I thought we really had a chance.”
Up until those final five minutes, when Sky View (16-6) began to pull away, Stansbury (13-9) had done what it set out to do in keeping the game close. However, a four-point play for the Bobcats proved costly for the Stallions as it helped shift momentum in the Bobcats’ favor.
“You’re always cheering for the kids — they executed the game plan,” White said. “There were a couple of 3s we missed and some layups, but dang, we rebounded well and we gave really good backside help (defense) on the bigs. These kids had a great season.”
Landen Giles led the Stallions with 21 points, hitting four 3-pointers. Logan Richins had eight points and 14 rebounds, while senior Jacob White hit two 3s and scored six points. Pae Tia and David Spaulding each scored six points, with Bridger Thomas adding four and Kru Huxford scoring three.
Jackson Schumann hit six 3-pointers and scored 20 points for Sky View. Evan Hall added 15 points for the Bobcats.
The season got off to a difficult start for the Stallions, with three consecutive losses against Class 5A Mountain View and Hillcrest and Class 6A Cyprus. Stansbury didn’t reach the .500 mark until a win over Hurricane on Dec. 30 got the Stallions to 4-4 on the season, but once Region 10 play began, SHS began to hit its stride. Eight of Stansbury’s final nine wins came by at least 11 points as the Stallions fell one game short of tying the school record for wins in a single season, set by the 2019-20 squad.
“We ended with beating Tooele by 20, beating Uintah by (21), beating Ogden by (18) and (31), we held our home court — I was pretty proud of the boys and how they responded,” White said. “We were clicking. We had the inside game going. Pae (Tia) was back. We were making some 3-point shots. I felt like we played really well, and that’s what you want. You want to be trending up.”
The Stallions should be one of the favorites in the new Class 5A Region 7 next year with a host of top players set to return — namely Giles, Richins and Thomas, who will all be seniors in 2021-22. Stansbury’s new region includes familiar foes such as Tooele, Cedar Valley and Uintah, as well as Payson, Cottonwood and Hillcrest.
“We have a lot of scoring that comes from our juniors and a lot of experience,” White said. “The (junior varsity) team went 18-2, so we have a lot coming back. I’m pretty excited. I’m excited about the dedication to the basketball program. Stansbury’s always football, football, football, and now we’ve got the basketball kids. I think it’s going to be fun to watch.”