Grantsville was completely outmatched during the Cowboys’ 89-55 loss at Kearns on Wednesday.
But even in the blowout loss, Cowboy head coach Bryan Detweiler saw some positives in the way his underclassmen performed.
“I thought they played hard the whole night,” he said. “We got a good practice on Tuesday and it showed. We got it together, the second half looked a lot better and there’s a lot of good stuff to build on from this game.”
Kearns held Grantsville without a field goal for the first three minutes, racing out to an eight-point lead before senior forward Ammon Bartley put back a rebound to make it 10-4. Bartley scored again with 2:29 left in the quarter to stop a 7-0 Kearns run.
Grantsville junior guard Porter Whitworth hit a jump shot with a little more than a minute left to cut the deficit to 14, and junior forward Gauge Pyne put the Cowboys into double digits with seconds left in the quarter to make it 26-10.
Kearns forwards Majok Kuath, Kwo Agwa and Emmanuel Andrew dunked over the Grantsville defense seemingly at will, exposing Grantsville’s relative lack of athleticism. The trio combined to score 44 points.
Kearns senior guards Cole Lake and Isaac Slaughter didn’t make things any easier for the Cowboys, hitting eight times from beyond the arc, helping Kearns to a 47-19 lead at halftime.
“I don’t care what the other team’s doing, I care what we’re doing,” Detweiler said. “I care about being better. I care about us playing a beautiful game of basketball. At the varsity level, beautiful and physical have to blend in some sort of way.”
Perhaps Grantsville’s best performance of the game came during the middle of the second quarter. Highlighted by a basket underneath by junior forward Jackson Sandberg — not to mention a goaltending violation on a would-be layup — Grantsville went on a 6-3 run over three minutes that cut the deficit to 42-16 with two minutes left in the half.
The Cowboys also made a 10-6 run to start the second half, clawing the deficit to 53-29 midway through the third quarter.
“That was a much better second half, in my mind,” Detweiler said. “That second half gave me a lot. They battled, scrapped, fought. I think that second half we maybe lost by three or four points. We need that the whole game.”
Bartley joined Izaiah Sanders and Kayden Bohman to lead the Cowboys in scoring with eight points apiece.
With the loss, Grantsville dropped to 1-1 on the season. The Cowboys will next play at the Central Utah Boys Basketball Preview tournament at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield this weekend — they play Manti at 1 p.m. Friday and Delta at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Tavin Stucki has covered prep sports in Utah for more than 10 years. This story was not subject to the approval of the Grantsville basketball program.