The future looks bright for boys basketball at Grantsville High School.
Although eight seniors will graduate from this year’s Region 11 championship team, the junior varsity team was brilliant this year with a 19-1 record.
As the younger group moves up it can battle to eclipse the accomplishments of this year’s team and advance further than the first round in the state playoffs next year.
Most of the junior varsity victories were by more than 20 points. Two of the teams which were roadblocks for the varsity team, also challenged the junior varsity. The GHS JV defeated Cedar in a defensive battle 38-35, and edged Bear River in Grantsville 49-46. The only loss was a nine-point setback at Bear River after trailing by 18.
The junior varsity team defeated Morgan in Grantsville 79-58, then Morgan’s varsity defeated Grantsville.
“These kids having been playing together for a long time,” said junior varsity coach Joe White. “We had four or five kids who could shoot it deep with three great inside players with Aaron Harrison, Wyatt Barrus and Colton Adams. So when teams double-downed on those big guys they could kick it out to our shooters.”
The coach said there was no drop-off when he went to the bench, and he used about nine players in each game.
“There were three or four kids who had games where they hit on three or four 3-point shots,” White said.
The leading scorer was junior sharpshooter Braden Sandberg who poured in 71 field goals and averaged 11.2 points per game. He hit 36 3-pointers, 35 2-pointers with a superb 46-of-52 free throws for 88 percent.
Junior Harrison was unstoppable inside with 63 field goals, and the third-highest free throw percentage on the team at 77 percent. He averaged 9.8 points per game. Statistics on blocks and rebounds were not kept, but Harrison undoubtedly was a team leader in those categories. He made life difficult for opposing big men in varsity games.
Sophomore Cameron Potter averaged 9.8 points with 23 3-pointers. Junior Wyatt Barrus averaged 7.9 points per game and was a tenacious competitor.
“These guys challenged the varsity players every single day in practice,” White said. “They were friends with the varsity guys, but there were some intense battles going on in practice. It was good for both the varsity and the junior varsity.”
It’s difficult to say how it all translates as far as success for next season. “Some teams were using a lot of sophomores and juniors on the varsity team this year, so it’s a bit hard to say how it will carry over next year,” White said.
“I think our JV team could have beaten a few varsity teams this year,” said head coach Chris Baker. “Wyatt Barrus, for example, would guard (Devin) Adams about as tough in practice as anybody would in a varsity game. We would use the JV players in practice as opposition to work on what the varsity needed to work on, and having that strong competition really helped the varsity team.”
Other junors on the JV were Tyson Elfors, Dalton Serr and Carter Allred. Sophomores were Potter, Adams, Christian Kelley, Kyle Peterson and Cody Riding.
Baker said that for players to make it at the varsity level they really need to start playing in the fifth- and sixth-grades. “It used to be that they only had Junior Jazz for six or seven games when they were that age, but when we came in four years ago we started to get players on AAU teams in the summer and it has really helped our program.”
High schools field freshmen, sophomore, junior varsity and varsity teams. Baker said players on all the teams at GHS were proud of being able to go 16-0 in games against local foes Tooele and Stansbury.