Jed Thomas said when he took over as Tooele’s head boys basketball coach a couple months before this season started, he could scarcely believe his luck with the talent the Buffaloes had coming back.
In the weekend between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the Buffs showed just why their coach is so excited. Tooele went 3-1 at the Utah Autism Foundation Holiday Classic at Olympus High School, finishing with a 67-51 win over Class 5A Skyline on Monday evening. The Buffs also beat perennial Class 4A power Desert Hills and longtime county rival Grantsville during the event, which saw them play four games in five days.
Tooele (6-4) never really gave Skyline (3-8) much of a chance on Monday, building a 15-point halftime lead. The Buffaloes outscored the Eagles 12-3 in the second quarter, and while Skyline closed the gap to 10 points by the end of the third quarter, Tooele was never truly threatened.
Justin Rogers led the Buffaloes with 21 points, and seniors Josh Wilkins and Nathan Swan each scored 14. Clay Freeman had six points, Canyon Christensen and Gavin Ware each had four and Braden Hogan and Brandon Vorwaller scored two apiece.
Tim Lont and Will Holmes had 22 and 21 points, respectively, to lead Skyline.
Tooele will open Region 11 play Friday night at Bonneville, with the Buffs’ first region home game scheduled for Wednesday against Juan Diego.
Herriman 75, Grantsville 34
Grantsville lost its 11th consecutive game Monday night at Olympus High School, managing just 10 second-half points in its loss to Class 6A Herriman.
The Cowboys (1-11) were outscored 24-3 in the third quarter, turning an already-difficult 16-point halftime deficit into an insurmountable 37-point hole. The Mustangs (7-5) hit eight 3-pointers in the game, led by LeGrand Burgess, who hit five 3-pointers and scored 21 points. Blake Freeland had 14 points and Taylor McCann added 11 for Herriman.
Carter Killian hit three 3-pointers and scored nine points to lead Grantsville. Izaiah Sanders had seven points, including two 3-pointers. Jackson Sandberg had six points, Zach Capel had five, Seth Beckett had four, Kayden Bohman had two and Ammon Bartley had one.
Grantsville will play host to Real Salt Lake Academy on Friday at 7 p.m. in a non-region contest. Following a Monday road game at Merit Academy, the Cowboys will open Region 13 play Wednesday in Kamas against South Summit.
Alta 54, Tooele 49
Swan erupted for 25 points, including a 3-for-5 effort from 3-point range and an 8-for-9 mark from the free-throw line, but the Hawks managed to hold off the Buffaloes.
Rogers was the only other Tooele player in double-figures, scoring 10 points to go with four rebounds and three blocks. Freeman and Christensen each scored four points, and Ware, Hogan and Vorwaller had two points apiece.