Highlighted by senior forward Brady Arbon’s two-handed dunk in the first quarter, Grantsville raced out to an early lead in the 75-34 win over Merit Academy at home on Wednesday.
The 24-12 first-quarter margin allowed Grantsville head coach Bryan Detweiler to give a significant portion of playing time to younger players who may be counted on in the coming years.
“It just gets them some experience, it’s good to see them go,” Detweiler said. “They’ve been going hard in practice too, and it was nice to get them out, get them a chance to show what they have at the varsity level.”
Junior forward Jeffrey Yadon made it a 42-19 game with a minute left in the half, scoring at the block on an inbounds pass seconds after subbing in — his first career varsity points, finishing with six.
Junior guard Izaiah Sanders hit a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left that gave Grantsville a 47-22 lead going into halftime. He finished with five points.
Sophomore forward Gauge Pyne earned steals in back-to-back possessions with around two minutes left in the half. He scored on a nifty turnaround move at the post for a layup to make it 44-19.
“I saw (Pyne) moving well to the basket, just being active,” Detweiler said. “Getting to the rim and finishing around the rim, it was good to see him get some easy baskets tonight.”
Pyne led Grantsville in scoring with 12 points.
Junior guard Jake Cafarelli scored with 6:40 left in the third to put the Cowboys above the 50-point mark on a floater from the baseline. He finished with six points, the first of his varsity career.
Junior guards Zach Capell and Seth Beckett combined for another nine points.
“It was really good, just to get that experience,” Pyne said. “Hopefully if we ever get more action in varsity, we’ll be good to go.”
Merit senior Andres Aguilar had a game-high 16 points to lead the Knights.
Cowboy senior guard Kevin Roberts did not dress or appear on the bench due to illness, and sophomore forward Ammon Bartley started in his place.
Merit Academy (0-9) will next face Telos (1-3) on the road Friday. Grantsville (10-5) will open the Region 13 season Wednesday against South Summit (7-4) at home.
Detweiler said the Ford Performance Racing School will sponsor a promotion in the coming game — if an opposing player misses two shots during a trip to the foul line during the fourth quarter, everyone in the building will be given free ice cream.
Author’s note: Tavin Stucki has covered prep sports in Utah for more than nine years. This story was not subject to the approval of the Grantsville basketball program.