On a team laden with juniors and seniors, a sophomore is being called upon to produce in a big way.
Sophomore guard Noah Togiai has emerged as a serious scoring threat for the Hunter boys basketball team.
"It definitely looks I will have to score more this year," Togiai said. "I know I'm going to have to carry a bigger load on my shoulders."
Togiai was one of the best freshmen in the state last season. He averaged more than 10 points per game and scored at least 15 points five times. The Wolverines needed to find more points from other players this season after the departure of last year's leading scorer, Dmitri Saliba. Togiai, along with senior Tre'von Johnson, has answered that call.
Togiai and Johnson entered the week combining for more than 30 points per game, which amounts to about 60 percent of Hunter's total points. It hasn't taken the pair long to learn they can feed off each other.
"They both have their strengths, and they balance each other out really well," Hunter coach Dave Filimoehala said. "They have made us a much more balanced team this year."
Because Johnson is a senior, Togiai views him as an example to follow. The rest of the team views Togiai as that example.
"It helps that he's a really good player," Filimoehala said. "He is one of our better athletes. We expect a lot out of him. He is one of our captains, and we expect him to score a lot of points."
There will come a day when Togiai might be asked to give an inspirational halftime speech or get on a teammate who isn't giving his all. But for now, his biggest responsibility is to put the ball in the hoop. That is a role he is more than comfortable with.
"I have always loved to score, so I like being able to be more aggressive this year," Togiai said. "I do see that people are following me, so this will be good experience for me and it will be something I can carry on for the next two years when the older guys are gone."
Cyprus girls are back
After a disappointing first-round exit in last year's state tournament, Cyprus lost its season opener. The Pirates have righted the ship since then. They entered the week riding a four-game winning streak and seem to have found a new primary scorer Marquessa Gilson. Gilson scored at least 11 points in each of the team's first five games, and she also is Cyprus' top defensive player.
Buffaloes snap skid
The Tooele girls basketball team took a step in the right direction by defeating East last week to snap a six-game losing streak. McKenzie Alvarez, Baylee Hansen and Taylor Thomas all scored at least 12 points for the Buffaloes in the victory.