Category Archive : Sports

FILE – Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic (77) and Kristaps Porzingis (6) celebrate a basket made against the Portland Trail Blazers on Oct. 27, 2019. Doncic, Porzingis, and Dorian Finney-Smith will rest against the Utah Jazz on Monday, the first game of a Mavericks back-to-back set. | Tony Gutierrez, AP

SALT LAKE CITY — The Dallas Mavericks will be without Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dorian Finney-Smith, against the Utah Jazz on Monday, the first game of a Mavericks back-to-back set.

“He’s a great basketball player, makes his teammates better, talented, really talented. One of the most talented guys I’ve ever played against.” Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo on Mavericks star Luka Doncic.

If you look at this from the perspective of the Jazz needing to play against the best to gain more knowledge ahead of the playoffs, this development is not so great. If you look at it from the perspective of the Jazz needing to get another win under their belt and possibly continue experimenting with the rotation, this is great news for the Jazz, especially with Doncic out.

How good is Luka Doncic?

For the answer, look no further than what his coach, teammates, opposing coaches and the reigning league MVP are saying about the 21-year-old, 6-foot-7 Slovenian guard.

“He’s a great basketball player, makes his teammates better, talented, really talented.” Giannis Antetokounmpo said after the Dallas Mavericks beat the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime on Saturday. “One of the most talented guys I’ve ever played against.”

Doncic closed out Saturday with a game-high 36 points, a career-high 19 assists, 14 rebounds and just two turnovers. In just his second year in the league, he’s proven to be one of its most lethal players, especially with the ball in his hands.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, despite being around Doncic every day, is consistently in …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

      

Kearns quarterback Dakota Lynde (10) reaches toward the goal line while being held back by Olympus defensive backs Sawyer Peterson (26) and Ben Hawes (10) during a high school football game at Olympus High School in Holladay on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019. | Colter Peterson, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Heading into the 2020 season, Kearns is looking to win its fourth straight Region 2 championship. Last year, the Cougars cruised through the region, winning all six of their region games en route to the region crown. This year, Kearns head coach Matt Rickards thinks that the Cougars have enough talent to possibly make it four straight region championships.

“I think we have some talented players on our team for sure. They’ve done a lot of work in the offseason, as much as they can with the COVID situation. Our guys are focused when we’re in practice and engaged and ready to step up see some tough opponents and hopefully play well.” — Kearns coach Matt Rickards

“I think we have some talented players on our team for sure. They’ve done a lot of work in the offseason, as much as they can with the COVID situation. Our guys are focused when we’re in practice and engaged and ready to step up see some tough opponents and hopefully play well,” Rickards said.

Kearns, picked to win the region yet again in the Deseret News coaches straw poll, returns six starters on offense and three on defense. On offense, running back Naki Leha, who ran for 1,447 yards and 21 touchdowns will be huge for the Cougars. On defense, Kearns does’t have as many starters returning, but has a great linebacking core in Xavier Afatasi, Jeff Bassa and Joe Alusa, who combined for 130 tackles, two sacks and four interceptions …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

      

Here’s an in-depth look at the Copper Hills Grizzlies football team heading into the 2020 season.

Note: Copper Hills finished with a 4-7 overall record in 2019 and was sixth in Region 3 with a 0-5 record. It was RPI seed No. 21 in the 6A playoffs, and was eliminated by Hunter 57-12 in first round.

WEST JORDAN — With a bunch of seniors and returning starters, Copper Hills coach Corey Dodds said he should be excited about the season.

Make no mistake, he is excited about this year’s group, but trying to compete in Region 3 is extremely difficult.

“This region is a monster,” said Dodds.

In five Region 3 games last year, Copper Hills was blown out in every game, and shut out three times. Dodds is optimistic that with eight returning contributors on defense and seven more on offense, his team will be both physically and mentally ready to compete in Region 3.

The reality of Copper Hills’ region situation is why the UHSAA’s switch to an RPI playoff qualification system, which allows all teams to make the playoffs, was so beneficial.

Where it’s located geographically, Copper Hills is surrounded by great football programs, and cracking the top four in region has been impossible. As a result, Copper Hills’ last playoff appearance prior to last year was 2004.

Even though it was blown out by Hunter in the first round, the players got the benefit of an extra week of practice and got to taste what playoff football is all about.

Region is no longer the only focus. Success in Game 1 is just as important as Game 10, which is why Dodds said last year’s four preseason wins were a great step, as they helped the program earn a No. 21 RPI seed for the playoffs — not a dead-last No. 27 seed.

Dodds …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

      

Here’s an in-depth look at the Murray Spartans football team heading into the 2020 season.

Note: Murray finished with an 8-4 overall record in 2019 and was fourth in Region 6 with a 3-3 record. It was RPI seed No. 13 in the 5A playoffs, and was eliminated by Olympus 49-7 in second round.

MURRAY — After years of struggling with poor results, the Murray football program strung together a very successful eight-win season in 2019. The hope is that last season was a sign of what’s to come. However, replicating or improving upon last season’s success won’t be a walk in the park for the Spartans as they have no starters returning from last season.

In order to maintain the pace set last season, Murray is installing a new offensive system. This new offense will focus on using RPOs and spread formations to exploit and attack opposing defenses. Head coach Todd Thompson thinks that the players seem to be adapting to the new system well.

“Our offensive coordinator has worked with them consistently. We were able to get a camp in and do some 7-on-7. It’s been pretty good for them to work and rep it and it’s come along pretty well,” said Thompson.

The new offense better click because Murray will require a lot offensively if it hopes to compete with region foes like Olympus and Brighton.

Unlike the offense, no changes will be made to the defensive schemes. This will likely serve as a benefit to the defensive starters as they look to replace a defense that had two all-state players in Autjoe Soe and Owen Madsen. Coach Thompson feels confident in his players and their ability to fill the empty shoes.

“We do have guys who are capable. They didn’t start, but they got significant reps last year. It’s …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

      

Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert (27) attempts a steal against Denver Nuggets’ Mason Plumlee (7) during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. | Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP

Lessons learned from Saturday’s loss to the Nuggets, and whatever can be gleaned from upcoming games against the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs, will be paramount to what the team is able to do moving forward.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz’s double-overtime, down-to-the-wire loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday was the team’s best performance in the bubble.

After the game I wrote that the Jazz can use the loss as a blueprint moving forward. They played great basketball in the first half, showed early energy and effort that has been missing as of late, generated and then missed really good looks in the third quarter and then battled back in the final moments of the fourth to make things competitive once again. But it wasn’t perfect.

“When we start missing shots we’ve got to turn our defense up to a higher level, which I don’t feel like we did to the full extent until we got to the fourth quarter and made crucial stops that we needed.” — Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell

The Jazz are completely aware of their place in the league. No matter how much confidence they have in their abilities, they know that making a deep run in the playoffs is going to be an incredibly difficult task. That’s why it’s beneficial to note the positive aspects of their Saturday performance while also acknowledging the areas that need improvement.

The heroics of Donovan Mitchell in crunch time against Denver can not be ignored. He hit amazing clutch shots again and again to keep the Jazz …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

      

Here’s an in-depth look at the Maple Mountain Golden Eagles football team heading into the 2020 season.

Note: Maple Mountain finished with a 5-6 overall record in 2019 and was fifth in Region 8 with a 2-4 record. It was RPI seed No. 16 in the 5A playoffs, and was eliminated by Bountiful 28-18 in first round.

SPANISH FORK — Maple Mountain coach Brad Burtenshaw was a bit surprised to hear of the news, but generally feels it’s a good thing.

In a poll of Region 8 coaches, the Golden Eagles were tabbed as the favorite to win the region, given the program’s returning talent and existing strengths.

“I thought it would probably be Salem Hills after what they did last year and I know they have several returning starters,” Burtenshaw said. “But I guess it’s a good thing for us to be thought of highly by our opponents. Kids have worked hard and we have some good returning players.”

Indeed the Golden Eagles return some prominent threats on the outside and returning quarterback Tyler Nelson, among others on offense, and could prove even stronger on the defensive side.

“We feel we have good experience and talent at most positions, with some sports to fill here and there,” Burtenshaw said. “Overall we feel we can be a really good team this year if we stay healthy and if kids just have their minds right and continue to work. I’m excited.”

Maple Mountain Golden Eagles at a glance
Coach Burtenshaw’s thoughts on how his players dealt with the COVID-19 adversity in the spring and summer:

“I think the boys are handling it really well. I think that they’ve done a lot of good things on their own while getting through all the adjustments. I feel like times are really different. When I was growing up Michael Jordan scores …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

      

Here’s an in-depth look at the American Leadership Eagles football team heading into the 2020 season.

Note: ALA finished with a 7-5 overall record in 2019 and was fourth in Region 14 with a 2-3 record. It was RPI seed No. 7 in the 3A playoffs, and was eliminated by Juab 35-7 in 3A quarterfinals.

SPANISH FORK — It’s been an interesting offseason for nearly every team given what has been going on with the COVID-19 pandemic, and ALA is certainly no exception. As a school that has typically struggled with having smaller numbers of available players, coach Nate Porter and the Eagles have been happy to see an increase in numbers this offseason.

“Our numbers keep growing,” Porter said. “(That has allowed) us to be two deep on all our skill positions, which is something we’ve never had.”

Those growing numbers have also resulted in competitions for certain positions. The most notable of these competitions took place at quarterback between seniors Hyrum Morley and Nathan Johnson. Johnson, who was initially considered the favorite to start, realized that Morley was the one who deserved the job.

“He’s one of those kids that is like ‘whatever it takes to win, I’ll do it,’” said Porter.

Johnson has now transitioned to play on a solid offensive line that already returns three starters. Fans of the team will hope that Johnson’s desire to win rubs off on the rest of his teammates.

With plenty of returning talent, that desire to win may be all that ALA requires to build upon last season’s campaign that saw it reach the quarterfinals. When asked to comment on his outlook for this season, Porter said, “We’re going to let the play do the talking this year.”

American Leadership at a glance
Coach Porter’s thoughts on how his players dealt with with the …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

      

Here’s an in-depth look at the Rich Rebels football team heading into the 2020 season.

Note: Rich finished with a 0-9 overall record in 2019 and was sixth in 2A North with a 0-5 record. It was RPI seed No. 13 in the 2A playoffs, and was eliminated by Duchesne 67-12 in first round.

RANDOLPH — In Justin Groll’s two years as Rich’s head football coach, his teams have struggled with a combined 2-17 record.

As one of the smallest programs in the state, it’s been tough for the Rebels to compete the past few years, and especially with so many contributing freshman and sophomores. The trend, however, may be changing in 2020.

“I’ve been playing some freshman and sophomore for the last couple years and now they’re juniors and seniors, so I should have some pretty good leadership. I’ve excited for the season,” said Groll.

Rich’s biggest strength may actually be the offensive line as Justin Adams, Riley Taylor, Colton Johnson and Hayden Weston are all returning starters.

“I think they’ll be able to figure things out pretty fast and come together. I’m fairly excited for them,” said Groll.

A year ago, Rich’s offense only averaged 7.3 points per game as it was shutout four times, but strong line play and an experienced starting quarterback could help that stat trend upward.

Rich Rebels at a glance
Coach Groll’s thoughts on how his players dealt with with the COVID-19 adversity in the spring and summer:

“I think it was just one of those years everyone was uncertain. They didn’t know if they’d even have a season or not, they were just hoping and doing what they could.”

Rich Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Cooper Cornia

2019 offense: 7.3 ppg (13th in 2A)

2019 offensive statistics
7 returning starters
RPO offense
Returning offensive starters
Riley Carrillo (QB)
Jaidyn Groll (WR)
Konner Greer (WR)
Justin Adams (C)
Riley Taylor (OT)
Colton Johnson (OG)
Hayden Weston …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News