The Buffaloes could blame their lackluster first-quarter performance at Union on bus-lag because of the long trip from Tooele to Roosevelt. Whatever held them team back, they were “sleepwalking” in the opening quarter according to the coach, and it really hurt in the game against the Cougars.
“You know it was one of those frustrating games because we came out and weren’t focused and ready to play and it really hurt us because we ended up down 20-5 after the first quarter,” coach Shawn Faux said.
Tooele battled back and outscored Union 52-41 in the final three quarters with an 18-point second-half scoring performance by sophomore Tyler Lawrence who knocked down four 3-point shots. But the early deficit was just too much and the Buffaloes came out on the short end 61-57 to drop to 1-5 on the season.
Tooele cut the lead to 26-19 at intermission and 42-37 after three quarters. It was an even game in the final quarter with the Cougars holding on for the victory.
Justin Pollmann scored 15 with one 3-point basket. Tyler Woodruff scored 12, Matt Memmott 9 with three 3-point buckets and Shaydan Walker knocked down a 3-point shot. Walker has been playing point guard and the coach has been pleased with his play.
“We can play Shaydan at the one or two position and he’s a kid who understands the game and has a great basketball IQ. He’s a good shooter and can hit the 3 if he’s open, but the main this is he gets us in our offense and we rely on him to push the ball up the court,” Faux said. “He’s a real good defender and did a solid job for us in our win against Mountain View.”
Sophomore Matt Memmott also had a solid game at Union with 9 points all on 3-point baskets. “He [Memmott] definitely has a shooter’s mentality and he really stepped it up against Union and against Keans. He’s going to be a big part of this program the next three years,” the coach said.
Despite a 1-4 start, coach Faux isn’t ready to hit the panic button. “Right now the players are getting used to me and what I expect of them both on and off the court. It’s early in the season and the main thing is to keep improving. I know some are worrying when they see the win-loss record so far, but we’re playing some tough teams. It’s OK if we’re flying a little below the radar right now,” the coach said.
The coach said the team played together in the win against Mountain View and are starting to forge team chemistry. “We played hard against Mountain View and got some good stops late and those defensive stops led to some easy baskets,” the coach said. “There is no question that we have the talent and generally the team chemistry takes a little while to develop. We want to play up-tempo both on offense and defense and take good shots. We rushed some shots against Union and when you miss shots it leads to open baskets for opponents.”
The coach is looking forward to this week when his team will have some time to practice. “Last week we had four games in three nights and this week we don’t have to play until Saturday when we go to Carbon which will give us some practice time,” Faux said.
Pollmann, Woodruff and Lawrence are a trio of high-scoring players and that should be the case this season while the coach is counting on others as role players with their defensive skills, rebounding skills and play-making skills.
Junior Andrew Spendlove is a player who will be counted on to provide strong defense. “He [Spendlove] brings everything he has to the game and has that fighting-dog mentally to get things done. He’ll be called upon to play excellent defense. Andrew also has good ball-handling skills.”Other players who should see plenty of varsity action are seniors Ty Green and Tanner Hollien and junior Aaron Tippetts.
The Buffaloes play at Carbon on Saturday, start Region 11 games by hosting Ben Lomond on Wednesday, Dec. 19 and then play at Grantsville on Friday, Dec. 21. Tooele will play in the Steve Hodson Cancer Classic in Cedar City Dec. 27-30.