By Kurt Johnson
Photos by Dave Argyle (DBA Photography)
RIVERTON – When Riverton and Juan Diego Catholic High School went head-to-head on Day 1 of the Riverton Holiday Tournament the two schools co-host, there was no way of knowing the two teams were staging a preview of the tourney title game.
The event includes 14 teams this year, so in order to make the brackets work, the two host schools were advanced into the second round, and then played each other Saturday in a game that did not count towards advancement in the tournament. Maliik Fagan-Foster (17 points) and Gabe Colosimo (15 points) led the way as the Soaring Eagle held off Riverton 59-58 in that one.
Now, after each team won its Monday and Tuesday contests, they will meet again in the same venue, at Riverton High, at 5 p.m. Wednesday for the tournament championship. Juan Diego, a Class 3A powerhouse, has knocked off three 5A teams in this tournament, and is 7-1 against teams from the state’s largest classification so far this season. New Years’ Eve will give the Soaring Eagle (9-2) a chance to make it eight wins.
Riverton reached the tournament final with a one-point win over Spanish Fork followed by a 65-58 semifinal victory against Wasatch.
Junior forward Chase Egget is hardly a household name for the Silverwolves, but he hit the game-winner as part of a somewhat surprising 18-point night in the quarterfinal round. He scored just a first-quarter 3-point Tuesday night, but it was a huge fourth-quarter offensive rebound that helped his team pull away for the win over Wasatch.
Senior forward Jaron Jones scored 19 points to pace the Riverton offense against the Wasps, with a dozen of those coming after intermission as the Silverwolves outscored Wasatch 40-32 in the second half after trailing by one at the break. Junior guard Joey Andrews was a big part of that second-half story, scoring 15 of his 17 after halftime, as was senior guard Jeff Arens, who tallied nine of his 15 in the final two stanzas.
The second-half surge allowed the home team to hold off a strong performance from 6-foot-6 Wasatch forward Nathan Dow, who dropped in 17 points and hauled down seven rebounds.
Colosimo has been a major story throughout the tournament for Juan Diego, and his 24 points Tuesday were critical in helping the Soaring Eagle claim a 67-62 overtime win over Westlake to earn their spot in the title tilt. Most critical were the senior guard’s big plays at critical times late in the game.
Throughout the fourth period, he kept his team alive with a sequence of baskets, steals and assists, as the game worked its ways towards the extra session. Colosimo then set the stage in overtime with a steal and a lay-up to get the scoring started, and then a floater off glass and in to put Juan Diego up four 1:30 into overtime.
He set up Avery Ames for a corner trey that opened up a seven-point advantage and also hit crucial free throws to help ice the win and send the Soaring Eagle into Wednesday’s championship game.
Asa McCord scored 15 and Brayden Holker ripped down 17 rebounds for Westlake, but it wasn’t enough to offset Colosimo and company.
Tournament Highlights So Far:
The top two individual offensive performances in the tourney so far both belong to Spanish Fork big man Hunter Schofield. The top individual scoring games of the tournament are:
Schofield (Spanish Fork) – 31 (Monday vs. Riverton)
Schofield – 30 (Tuesday vs. Kearns)
Colosimo (Juan Diego) – 27 (Monday vs. Lehi)
Bushmen Ebet (Kearns) – 27 (Monday vs. Hunter)
Dow (Wasatch) – 26 (Saturday vs. Kearns)
Tanner Nygren (Lehi) – 25 (Saturday vs. Skyline and Tuesday vs. Provo)
Hunter Bailey (Provo) – 25 (Monday vs. Cyprus)
Buay Kuajian (Kearns) – 25 (Tuesday vs. Spanish Fork)
Asa McCord (Westlake) – 25 (Tuesday vs. Juan Diego)
Top Tournament Overall Scorers:
Schofield – 26.3 points per game
Nygren – 24.3 PPG
Colosimo – 22 PPG
Dow – 20.7 PPG
Ebet – 19.7 PPG
Bosten Van Der Veur (Park City) – 19.3 PPG
Jeff Arens (Riverton) – 18 PPG
Bailey – 17.3 PPG
McCord – 17 PPG