For the first time, all three of the Tooele Valley’s high school basketball teams reached double-digits in the win column this season, with all three programs reaching the postseason for the third year in a row.
Grantsville’s boys went on a magical run through the Class 3A state tournament, ultimately finishing third after the Cowboys came in as a No. 4 seed from their own region and were thought to be mere cannon fodder by many of the experts. Tooele and Stansbury kept their first-round matchups close early on before falling to Payson and Salem Hills, respectively, but those losses shouldn’t take away from a pair of strong seasons from both programs.
But, with three teams in such a small radius capable of achieving such a high level of success, what might happen if all three schools merged? Once again, that was the question as the Transcript Bulletin’s sports staff (read: yours truly) took a look at the best players in the county this season. What would a 10-man rotation look like for Class 6A Tooele County High School?
After much thought and looking at statistics, it wasn’t easy to narrow it down. But here’s one person’s idea in the form of the Transcript Bulletin’s 2017-18 All-County boys basketball team.
Player of the Year — Brady Arbon, senior center, Grantsville: Arbon simply took games over at times this season, with no performance bigger than his 30-point explosion in the Cowboys’ first-round state tournament win over Union. He recorded six double-doubles, averaging 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, and was also a threat from the perimeter, hitting 16 3-pointers.
Center — Josh Jenkins, senior, Stansbury: Last season’s All-County Player of the Year had another strong campaign, averaging just under 14 points per game while also pulling down 5.3 rebounds and being selected as Region 11’s Defensive Player of the Year. His ability to stretch the floor by knocking down shots from the perimeter made the 6-foot-5 senior a matchup nightmare.
Forward — Drake Schlappi, senior, Stansbury: Schlappi was a jack-of-all-trades for the Stallions, scoring 13.4 points per game while grabbing 4.1 rebounds, dishing out 2.2 rebounds and picking off 1.3 steals. He led the team with 21 made 3-pointers and also provided valuable leadership on both ends of the floor.
Forward — Kyler Hymas, senior, Tooele: Tooele coach Josh Johnsen once described Hymas’ game as “doing Kyler things.” “Kyler things” apparently included turning a spot-up jump shooter into an aggressive, slashing point forward with range who averaged a shade under 18 points per game, including five games of more than 20 points during Region 11 play as the Buffaloes finished second.
Guard — Kevin Roberts, senior, Grantsville: A solid two-way player, Roberts was Grantsville’s second-leading scorer at 13.5 points per game and led the team with 1.9 steals per contest. He also had 37 deflections, making him a tough challenge for any opposing guard.
Guard — Mitchell Bunn, senior, Tooele: Bunn’s heady play was a major reason why Tooele managed to finish second in its region this year. He averaged 9.3 points and 4.1 assists per game, and had 16 points and nine assists in a crucial region victory over rival Stansbury.
Tavita Gagnier, senior, Stansbury: If you look up “athlete” in the dictionary, there might just be a picture of Gagnier next to the definition. His leaping ability allowed him to play much bigger than his 6-foot-3 frame would typically allow, and as a result, he ranked third on the Stallions in scoring and rebounding and second in assists.
Ryan Potter, senior, Grantsville: Potter brought a lot to the table for the Cowboys this season, ranking as their third-leading scorer with 9.5 points per game. He was second on the team in assists per game and tied for third in steals per game, and hit a team-leading 19 3-pointers.
Dawson Banks, senior, Tooele: Another steady leader, Banks had the ability to step up when his team needed him most. He helped lead the Buffaloes back from a big deficit in the season finale at Bonneville with 17 points, including five 3-pointers, as Tooele toppled the Lakers to preserve its second-place standing.
Coach of the Year — Bryan Detweiler, Grantsville: Detweiler had his team prepared like none other — as evidenced by how the Cowboys stepped up in his absence, when a family emergency kept him from coaching his team’s state quarterfinal game against a strong Grand squad. Nobody expected the Cowboys to finish third in the state after finishing fourth in their own region, but Detweiler’s preseason prediction that his team would make some noise at the state tournament proved prophetic in the end.