It hasn’t been the kind of preseason the Stansbury boys basketball team had hoped for, and coach Joe White hopes the Stallions can shake it off.
Stansbury went 0-4 at the Riverton Holiday Tournament over the weekend, extending its losing streak to seven games since a season-opening win over Delta. The Stallions (1-7) suffered a disappointing overtime loss to Wasatch on Thursday, lost by three to Cyprus on Friday and fell by 13 to Kearns on Saturday after being blown out 70-33 by Riverton on Wednesday.
“We’ve played a real tough schedule,” White said. “We’ve played our guts out. It’s a fine line between playing tough and losing your players. We’ll keep playing tough and trying to learn from it and get ready for region.”
Of the three games, the Thursday contest against Wasatch presented the best chance for the Stallions to pick up a victory. Stansbury erased a six-point deficit going into the fourth quarter, opening the final frame on an 8-0 run behind seniors Josh Jenkins, Drake Schlappi and Tavita Gagnier. Wasatch recaptured the lead on a late basket by Brandon Maxwell that put the Wasps up 39-38 with 39.8 seconds left, but Jenkins sent the game to overtime with a late free throw.
However, any momentum the Stallions gained with their fourth-quarter rally evaporated when they were whistled for a technical foul early in overtime as Jenkins slapped the backboard while attempting to block a Wasatch shot. The controversial call gave the Wasps two free throws and the ball, and Stansbury never recovered. Will Harris hit a late 3-pointer for Wasatch to put the Wasps ahead to stay, and Wasatch held on for a 48-45 win.
“They said it’s discretionary that if you’re not going for a block, they can give a technical,” said White, who had a lengthy conversation with the officials about the call after the game. “I don’t know how you can’t say he’s going for a block. (Jenkins is) in the air, the ball hits the (backboard), you’re 6-4, you’re up there … I’m not sure if it won or lost the game, but it’s a huge momentum swing.”
Jenkins had 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Stallions. Schlappi had eight points and five rebounds. However, the Stallions struggled from the foul line, going just 5-for-12 with several crucial misses down the stretch.
“Those are the things that we talk about all the time at practice,” White said. “Those close games will always come down to extra points when you’re scraping it out.”
Stansbury opens Region 11 play Wednesday at Park City.
Cyprus 62, Stansbury 59
On Friday at Riverton High School, Stansbury held a one-point lead going into the final quarter against the Class 6A Pirates but couldn’t fend off Cyprus in the end.
Jenkins and Schlappi each had 17 points for the Stallions, while Tanner Mears added 11 and Hayden Beck had eight.
Kearns 53, Stansbury 40
The Stallions overcame a tough first quarter with a stifling defensive effort in the second, forging a 22-22 tie at halftime, but the Cougars found their stride in the second half to pull away from Stansbury on Saturday.
Schlappi led the Stallions with 16 points. Jenkins and Gagnier each had seven.