The Class 1A Utah High School Boys State Basketball Tournament was held in Cedar City last week.
Again it was an exciting tournament, and well worth attending if you have the inclination. Admittedly, it is much more interesting if you have a “horse in the race” so to speak, but the games are exciting even for the casual observer.
Dugway’s basketball team was again participating in the tournament, but they were the only athletic representation for Tooele County. And, if it weren’t for a rather dubious call towards the end of their second game, they might have advanced beyond the third round. (I wonder if there has ever been a state basketball tournament in which Dugway did not compete?)
Although Tooele County sported only one team at the tournament, we were represented in some other ways which are remarkable on their own;
Two of the teams competing in the tournament are coached by graduates of Wendover High School. Jaren Wadsworth, a Wendover alumnus, led the West Desert Hawks to a respectable finish at the tournament. The Hawks were able to upset the team from St. Joseph High School to earn a victory at the tournament. Also, Lawson Sweat, another Wendover graduate, helps coach the Piute Thunderbirds, who also picked up a victory over a higher seeded team. Two of Wendover’s favorite sons are doing what they’ve always loved doing, and having some considerable success along the way. Not only that another Tooele County connection, Steve Hoagland, is the head coach for Piute and was the former head coach at Grantsville High.
Mathew Mascaro was honored in Cedar City over the weekend, when he was named to the Academic All-State Basketball Team. When everything is said and done, I believe most of us agree, academic superiority is a valuable achievement which can last a lifetime, even more valuable than what takes place on the basketball court.
Finally, Marie Johnston, a longtime Wendover asset and advocate, was honored for her lifetime of dedicated service to, and support of, students and athletics around the state. Mrs. Johnston served on the Tooele County School Board and was the person most responsible for acquiring the property which is now Wendover High School’s baseball field, soccer field, and track. (The property is appropriately named “Johnston’s Field in her honor.) She almost always attends Wendover’s home games, and is tireless in her efforts to provide financial and logistical support for the school’s and those involved in the community of Wendover. If academic achievement is a step above athletic achievement, then a lifetime spent in support of others has to be way up the ladder. Especially when one is as tenacious as Mrs. Johnston. I don’t think she understands the word, “No”, or at least she won’t accept no as an answer.
Tooele County has good reasons to be proud of her teams and especially her people. Over the course of the 1A tournament, the rest of the state got a glimpse of some of the best Tooele County has to offer.