Juan Diego held the Stansbury boys basketball team to 16 first-half points as the Soaring Eagle racked up its seventh Region 10 victory, 50-37 on Friday at Stansbury High School.
“Juan Diego is Juan Diego,” Stansbury head coach Joe White said. “They’re a dang good team.”
Junior guard Talon Valdes led all scorers with 21 points, including a floater in the lane that gave Juan Diego a 28-16 lead with less than a minute to play in the first half.
“And that’s a deceptive 21 points,” White said of Valdes’ performance. “He’s so good with the ball. He just picks his spots. He’s an unusual high school kid in that he doesn’t talk trash. I’ve never really heard him talk at all, he just goes out and plays. He’s really smooth.”
Junior forward Matt Rohden scored twice from the post in the final two minutes of the half to make it 30-16 at halftime. Rohden finished with 13 points.
The Stallions outscored Juan Diego 21-20 in the second half, limiting the visitors to seven points in the third quarter. White said Stansbury’s defensive intensity was much better in the second half.
“We went small in the second half with Kru Huxford guarding Valdes,” White said. “We tried to make them make mistakes.”
Senior point guard Peyton Thevenot hit a pair of 3-pointers in the quarter, and junior forward Pae Tia hit a shot from under the basket to make it 37-26 with a minute left in the quarter.
Stansbury made a small run to pull the lead down to seven points to start the fourth quarter, as Tia made a putback shot 28 seconds in and Thevenot drained a pair of free throws 21 seconds later to make it 37-30.
Thevenot led the Stallions with eight points, while Tia and junior forward David Spaulding added another six each, as the Stallions struggled against the Juan Diego defense all night. Stansbury didn’t score a field goal in the final 3:36 of the third quarter, and the final 2:27 of the fourth.
“We just didn’t hit any shots,” White said.
Stansbury went 6-of-11 from the foul line, compared to Juan Diego’s 7-of-13.
The loss came on a short rest, after Stansbury’s loss against rival Tooele was played on Wednesday instead of Tuesday like the schedule normally calls for.
“We had a good day at practice yesterday, we shot around and went over stuff. We didn’t do a lot of running,” White said. “We only had one day for their legs to recover, and that Tooele loss was a big deal.”
Juan Diego improved to 12-7 on the season and 7-1 in Region 10. Stansbury dropped to 12-7 and 5-4 in league play.
“I talked to the kids about having to put this one behind them,” White said. “If you don’t, it can consume you. We’ve got three winnable games left, if you have to take it one game at a time, but you have to be hungry and you have to want it.”
The Stallions will next face Cedar Valley (9-10, 6-1) on the road Tuesday as Juan Diego travels to Uintah (4-12, 2-5). Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m.