It would have been fun to have worked last Friday night — to have faced the challenge to watch and keep track of one of the three 3A boys basketball teams in a state playoff game.
It would have been even better if I needed to ask a correspondent to cover one of the teams, had sports writer Richard Briggs go to a game and had covered a game myself.
That scenario would have meant that all three Tooele Valley teams had reached the playoffs.
But no — none of the teams played last Friday so nobody plays today in the 3A state tournament at Weber State University.
In defense of the local teams, it appears that Region 11 may have been the strongest basketball league top-to-bottom in 3A. Three of the four teams reached the final eight and will play today. Region champ Morgan should have a shot at winning a state title. Fourth-place Ogden gave Region 12 champion Spanish Fork a battle last Friday night in Spanish Fork with a narrow 61-57 loss. Ben Lomond, Bear River and the Trojans all play today in the quarterfinals at the Purple Palace on the WSU campus in Ogden.
Despite only two wins each in region play this year, Tooele County teams should be more competitive next season as the basketball programs at the schools develop. Coaches are working hard behind the scenes to mold the talents of young players who can contribute in coming years.
It’s easy to spot the guys who can score points, but the coaches are always looking for players with full resumes who can defend, rebound and play team basketball.
Tooele coach Shawn Faux said he needs some Dennis Rodman-type players.
As a refresher, Rodman of Detroit Pistons fame, was touted as one of the greatest rebounders ever to play professional basketball. His rebounding exploits drews comparisons to such legends as Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone and Bill Russell, all of whom were taller and heavier. Sports Illustrated once called Rodman “a sort of basketball genius.” Rodman led the NBA in rebounding for four consecutive years and helped his teams to five NBA championships.
Good news for local teams is that the leading rebounder from each team this year should be back next season.
Junior Taylor Graves led the Stallions with a whooping 134 rebounds for the season and six per game. Junior Devin Adams led the way for Grantsville in rebounding with 114 boards for 5.18 rebounds per game. Junior Justin Pollmann was the top rebounder for Tooele with 108 at 4.9 per game.
Other leading rebounders this year were Skyler Cloward and Braydon Hamatake of GHS with 111 and 85 respectively. Tyler Woodruff hauled in 88 boards for the Buffaloes, and Stone Tia and Ryan Robbins clean a lot of glass with 74 and 62 rebounds respectively.
Nowhere to go up but up for Tooele Valley boys prep basketball teams next season.
I will plan on covering several state playoff games next year.