Basketball notes: Highland rides great shooting night to rout
There are games when planning, coaching or pure will give a team the edge it needs to win.
Then there are games when one team just shoots out of their sneakers.
The Highland boys' basketball team had a game of the second kind Friday night as it pounded Woods Cross in an 81-42 blowout that puts it at the forefront of the Region 6 race. The Rams were propelled in particular by a sensational 14-for-21 performance from 3-point range.
Even coach Keith West, who had high expectations for this group, didn't exactly see this coming.
"I thought all year we were going to be one of the best shooting teams I've ever coached, and last night, they were," West says. "We shot unbelievably well. Every time we got a little space, we made shots. It was kind of the perfect storm."
For at least one night, the defending champs played up to their title. David Divver led all scorers with 23 points, including four 3-pointers. Lennon Betonney had a team-high five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points.
Highland has struggled at times this year after graduating some good players from last season's title team. But West has confidence that the Rams are headed in the right direction and this win only gives him more faith.
"We've had some ugly, ugly games," he says.
"What we run is pretty complicated, and we have almost a completely different team this year. The one constant is that they've played hard, and they've taken every game seriously."
Johnson's high scoring leads Green River
When you think about the state's leading scorers, Lone Peak's Nick Emery, East's Parker Van Dyke or maybe even South Sevier's Race Parsons might come to mind.
The state's leading scorer is Justin Johnson of Green River. And although he competes in Class 1A, it's hard to ignore his numbers.
The most recent example: A 42-point, 21-rebound night against Monument Valley in a 90-53 win Friday.
It marked a season-high scoring total for the 6-foot-4 forward, but was also his third game with at least 40 points this year.
For the season, he's averaging just more than 33 points per game for the Pirates.
Williams comes up big for Syracuse
A lot of opponents of the Syracuse girls' basketball team will concentrate on Brittney Martin, one of the top national prospects. But do so at your own risk the Titans have another dangerous Division I player.
Makenlee Williams, signed to Utah State, overloaded Weber on Friday with 35 points in an 80-52 win. It was a career-high scoring night for the lanky forward, who also had four 3-pointers. With the bump in her scoring average from such a prolific outing, it is now Williams not Martin who is leading Syracuse in points per game. And as long as the 12-0 Titans keep winning, it seems doubtful that Martin has a problem with that.