The Stansbury boys basketball team certainly has a flair for the dramatic.
For the third game in a row, the Stallions found themselves trailing in the second half on Friday night, seemingly on the brink of letting things get out of hand. But, for the third game in a row, Stansbury came back — this time rallying from seven points down late in the third quarter to upend Park City 60-52 in a crucial Region 11 home game that pulled the Stallions into a three-way tie for second place in the league standings.
“We don’t give up and we can fight through anything as long as we’re willing to do the work,” said junior Jaden Jenkins, who had 11 points, seven assists and five steals for the Stallions (7-9, 4-2 Region 11). “We would like to just start ahead and get ahead, but we’re obviously going to be happy if we come back from a hard fight and win.”
Park City (5-10, 2-4) led 43-36 with 1:35 left in the third quarter, and was up 49-43 after a layup by Nathaniel Lowe with four and a half minutes left in the game. But the Miners hit just one more field goal the rest of the way while the Stallions went on a 17-3 run.
“I credit a really hard preseason, where you play all those tough teams and you just have to gut it out — it’s paying dividends here in region,” Stansbury coach Joe White said. “They have a lot of heart and they’re finding ways to win. People are stepping up.”
Stansbury’s Peyton Thevenot tied the game at 49-49 with three minutes left, fighting through contact down low for a tough basket after a pass from Jenkins. After Park City’s Mark McCurdy put the Miners back in front 51-49, Thevenot tied the game again on the Stallions’ next trip down the floor, and after a defensive stop, Jenkins found Pae Tia for a layup that put Stansbury in front to stay.
“I have faith in my teammates,” Jenkins said. “I get to know them not just on the court, but also off the court, so I learn to trust them and give up my own opportunities.”
After a McCurdy free throw cut the Stallions’ lead to one point, Thevenot delivered a dagger in transition, drilling a 3-pointer from the right wing off a feed from Jenkins to put SHS up 56-52 with 1:11 left. Stansbury went 4-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final minute to put the game away.
Thevenot finished with 17 points to lead the Stallions despite a rough shooting night in which he went 5-for-14 from the field, including 3-for-11 from 3-point range. However, the Stallions’ role players stepped up big when they had to, as Tia and Jacob Spaulding each finished with 12 points. Tanner Mears had four points and Jet Richins and David Spaulding each had two. White noted that Richins came up with a crucial defensive rebound late in the game and David Spaulding, a reserve who normally doesn’t see much varsity playing time, stepped in for senior Kale Vorwaller, whose playing time was limited by an illness.
Lowe led Park City with 18 points and Alex Obradovich added 10. It was a particularly tough loss for the Miners, who fell two games behind Tooele, Bonneville and Stansbury for a postseason berth with six games remaining in the region season. All four teams ahead of Park City in the standings, including first-place Juan Diego, currently own the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Miners.
However, White wasn’t about to get comfortable with his team’s playoff position just yet — particularly with how close the Stallions came to losing to Park City on the heels of their two come-from-behind wins against Tooele and Ben Lomond.
“Every game’s huge now,” White said. “We’ll go have fun, go play hard and see what happens.”
Following Tuesday night’s road game at Bonneville, which was not complete at press time, the Stallions will return home to face Ogden on Friday night.