The Stansbury boys basketball team struggled against a difficult preseason schedule, and found itself down 9-2 early in its Region 11 opener in Park City on Wednesday night.
A feeling of “here we go again” could have set in for the Stallions. Instead, the early deficit seemed to motivate them. An 18-3 run late in the second quarter helped Stansbury take control, and the Stallions held on for a 56-49 win over the Miners.
“We’ve had a tough schedule, but it’s just made us better and prepared us for region,” said Stansbury senior Josh Jenkins, who led the Stallions (2-8, 1-0 Region 11) with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Park City (3-7, 0-1) led 20-14 with 5:20 left in the first half after a 3-pointer by Chase Preston capped a 7-2 Miners run. But Stansbury responded and took a 32-23 lead with 15 seconds left, thanks in large part to senior Hayden Beck, who knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, hit a fadeaway jumper off an inbounds play and picked off a steal that led to a Justin Matthews layup.
“Our energy level was different,” Stansbury coach Joe White said. “We took a timeout and refocused on what our priorities were. Hayden hit two 3s and really established that we were OK.”
The Miners closed the gap to 32-30 early in the third quarter, but clutch shooting by Stansbury kept them from getting any closer. Matthews nailed a 3-pointer with 53 seconds left in the third to stretch the lead to seven points, and the Stallions were 9-for-10 from the foul line in the fourth quarter to keep Park City from coming back.
“We know our roles and we realize what those are,” Stansbury senior Drake Schlappi said. “Different people can step up at different times and do what they do best.”
Matthews and Tanner Mears each scored nine points for Stansbury, while Beck had eight and Tavita Gagnier added seven. Schlappi had four points and Jaden Jenkins had two.
Alex Obradovich led Park City with 14 points, and Mark McCurdy added 10 for the Miners.
The Stallions will be back in action Friday at home against Ben Lomond. It will be Stansbury’s first home game since its season-opening win over Delta in November, and the team is looking forward to being back on its home court.
“We’re undefeated at home,” Josh Jenkins deadpanned. “We’re looking forward to being back there.”