Shorts leads Copper Hills into playoffs
The Grizzlies celebrate their boys basketball team with energy and exuberance. (Andrew Blanchard/Copper Hills boys basketball)
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The top Utah high school basketball prognosticators consider Copper Hills to be a team to beat heading into its state tournament.
The 2016–17 season has been highlighted by only four losses by the Grizzlies. Two of those were at an out-of-state tournament in December, while the other two were at the hands of defending state champion and Region 3 contender Bingham.
The Grizzlies turned and watched last spring as the Miners cut the nets at the University of Utah as state champions. The Miners had defeated them 61-44 using a 20-point third quarter to pull away. The Grizzly players walked away with towels on their heads dejected.
The Miners also defeated the Grizzlies in the Utah Elite 8 tournament held in December, 60-56. It was the Grizzlies first loss of the season. Senior Stockton Shorts had 21 points in the loss.
“We really want to beat Bingham,” Shorts told Utah Prep Hoops. “They beat us four times last year. They are a great team, and we consider them a rival.”
Shorts’ full name is Stockton Malone Shorts. His father and mother are huge Utah Jazz fans and have passed the love of basketball to their son. Shorts avidly follows the Jazz as evident on his twitter page, @stockton_shorts.
As a senior, Shorts has made the most of his playing time. He leads the team in scoring, averaging 23.4 points per game. He has been named Deseret News player of the week this season. He had a season high 41 points against Olympus in a preseason game. He has also scored in double figures in all the team's games.
Shorts took on Bingham singlehandedly Jan 6. He scored eight points in overtime, including the game winning three with 4.2 seconds remaining. He had 34 points in the game and Copper Hills defeated Bingham for the first time in five tries, 59-57.
Bingham then defeated the Grizzlies in the second region matchup on Jan. 31, 58-51.
Copper Hills’ players know that to become the best, they must beat the best.
The Grizzlies also defeated West Jordan both times this year, 63-56 and 67-57. They split last season’s games.
The supporting cast around Shorts has held its own. Stressing defense that leads to offense is an important part of the Grizzly philosophy. Seniors Rowland Bolman, Ben Baysinger and Callahan Blackham and sophomore Trevon Allfrey have helped by pitching in on the offensive end.
The 5A boys state tournament is scheduled to begin Feb. 27. The championship game is scheduled for Saturday, March 4 at Weber State University.
Bolman and fellow senior Parker Rollins have also been named to the Deseret News Academic All-State team. This award is to recognize student athletes who have excelled in the classroom as well as in athletic competition. more 85,000 students participate in high school athletics. This award is considered the most prestigious honor given by the Utah High School Activities Association.