I was trying to come up with a way to describe what it’s like covering high school basketball while spending time with family over the Christmas holiday, and it turns out the perfect comparison was right in front of me:
It’s like one of those enormous holiday dinners.
All those preseason games we got before the start of 2017 were merely hors d’oeuvres. Some of them were better than others, but all of them seemed worth a try at the time. The Stansbury girls basketball team’s buzzer-beating road win over Bear River was a treat. If that game were an appetizer, it would be the one you’d want more and more of even if it meant filling yourself up before the main course.
On the other hand, some of the blowouts are the equivalent of your family’s traditional side dish that nobody truly enjoys, but everyone eats anyway because it’s your great-great-grandmother’s recipe and it’s tradition. I’ll have to politely decline a second helping of the Grantsville-Cyprus or Tooele-Wendover girls games, at least until next year.
Now, it’s time for Region 10 play — the main course. And, what a feast it promises to be. The Grantsville girls basketball team appears to have the right recipe for a region title this year. You almost had to feel bad for poor North Sanpete last week at the Steve Hodson Cancer Classic in Cedar City. Grantsville had just lost to Millard by three points the day before, and took out all its frustration on the poor Hawks to the tune of a 40-point blowout.
Through the preseason, the Cowboys appear ready to live up to their potential as one of Class 3A’s best. Certainly, Stansbury plans to make things difficult on its cross-county rival, and Tooele seems to get better with each passing game. The region’s coaches picked Union to finish first, and Park City will be battling for a postseason berth as well. This is one imposing main course.
And that’s only half of it. The Grantsville boys have looked the best of the three Tooele County squads so far, but Stansbury and Tooele haven’t exactly had the easiest preseason schedules and both are capable of competing in a wide-open Region 10. Park City has improved from a year ago but is still a work in progress, and Union has endured a difficult preseason. Between the boys’ and girls’ region title races, this is a lot of meat and potatoes — with the Tooele-Stansbury, Grantsville-Stansbury and Tooele-Grantsville games adding a little gravy. (Who doesn’t like a little gravy, after all?)
But all this meat and potatoes leads to the sweet reward at the end — dessert, aka the Class 3A state basketball tournament. And, if Tooele County’s teams play their cards right, one or two of them might even get to bring home a big trophy — the proverbial cherry on top.
So, dig in, Tooele County basketball fans. There’s plenty to go around.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. This column is what happens when he writes on an empty stomach. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.