Every school the Kearns boys basketball team goes up against this season will be focusing most of its attention on Dayon Goodman, and for good reason.
The senior center was the top player in Region 2 a year ago, but everybody knew it. When teams started double-teaming Goodman, Kearns struggled to put points on the scoreboard.
Things are different for the Cougars this season. Goodman is just as solid as ever, but Kearns has other options this time around. Junior guard Darion Brown has given the Cougars a 3-point threat that was absent from last year's squad.
"With Dayon being such a threat in the post, it takes pressure off me," Brown said. "He can score down low and I shoot from outside. Doing that, we just build off each other's confidence."
Brown, a private-school transfer, still is adjusting to the speed and talent of 5A basketball, but he is making a name for himself early on. He averaged 14 points in Kearns' first two games this season and still has room to grow.
"We are just waiting for him to catch fire," Kearns coach Dan Cosby said. "He hasn't shown what he can do yet, but when he does, he can light up the gym."
The inside-out duo of Goodman and Brown has been effective so far, but the Cougars are more than a two-man show. They have another player on the cusp of bursting onto the scene sophomore guard Bushman Ebet.
Ebet came out of nowhere in Kearns' season-opening victory against Syracuse. When he got the ball in the open court, Ebet used his extraordinary speed to get to the rim, where he essentially jumped over a Syracuse defender and threw it down with authority. When Ebet saw the same situation later in the game, the defender hacked him to prevent being posterized for a second time.
"His talent is still a bit raw, but he might be the most athletic sophomore out there," Cosby said.
With the three-headed monster that is Goodman, Brown and Ebet, the Cougars are a much more talented team than the one that finished third in Region 2 last season. For Kearns to improve upon last year's finish, it will have to match its talent with chemistry. While the season is still young, the Cougars already are showing that necessary camaraderie.
"This is the first time I've seen what it's like to have a team be so united," Cosby said. "If we don't at least contend for the region, it will be a disappointment."
Kearns girls post 'W'
An 0-3 start was not what the Kearns girls basketball team had in mind, but the Cougars shook off the bumpy start by earning a 53-43 win at Grantsville on Saturday. Tasha Ika propelled Kearns by sinking two 3-pointers on her way to an 18-point performance. Dee Finai added 15 points for the Cougars.
Cyprus girls heating up
With last year's leading scorer, Lori Parkinson, graduated and playing at Southern Utah University, the Pirates had to find a way to supplement that scoring. They found it in not just one, but three players. Marquessa Gilson, Julie Caputo and Abby Barrett all were averaging 8 or more points per game entering the week. With that balanced attack, Cyprus knocked off Westlake by 18 points on Thursday.