Defensive-led Chargers reach final four in Lunt’s first year
Senior Michael Scheffner looks to drive to the basket in the quarterfinals against Maple Mountain. Scheffner will graduate from the Charger program with the school record for points in a season. (Corner Canyon Basketball)
Gallery: Defensive-led Chargers reach final four in Lunt’s first year [5 Images] Click any image to expand.
At a school that opened in 2013, every year brings history. In 2017, that history belongs to the Corner Canyon boys basketball team.
The Chargers reached the final four of the 4A state tournament in March for the first time in the program’s short tenure.
“There has to be a first sometime,” said first-year head coach Dan Lunt. “What they did this year through our senior leadership and our youth will lay the groundwork to hopefully get back and compete for state championships year after year.”
Much of the groundwork laid came in the form of its defense with the Chargers only surrendering 58 points per game. Which is even more impressive when you consider Lunt implemented a different defensive scheme from how his roster had been playing.
Lunt described his defensive style as a “pack-line defense,” which keeps teams from attacking the paint. In years past it was focused on denying passing lanes.
“For those kids to adjust to kinda stepping back and taking away penetration, it was a tough adjustment but they came a long ways and did a great job,” Lunt said.
It became a key to the season’s success. When the Chargers held their opponents to under 60 points, they were 13-0, and 4-8 when allowing 60 or more.
“We were very aware of that and we make the kids aware of that. When we were able to control tempo and defend, we were a pretty good basketball team,” Lunt said.
Lunt finished his first year in charge at Corner Canyon after 23 years at the helm of the Payson boys basketball program, where his teams had to two state championship appearances.
It’s a standard he now expects at the Draper school.
“I told the kids from day one that our goal and what we want to accomplish — and they were onboard — was to win a state championship … disappointing in the way (season) ended cause our goal was to win a state championship, but they laid the groundwork for the future and I’m excited about that,” Lunt said.
Corner Canyon was a game away from the championship after it defeated Bountiful and rallied past Maple Mountain in the playoffs before eventually succumbing to 2016 4A champion Olympus in the semifinals.
But it is about the journey for Lunt, who will see three seniors graduate and four starters from the semifinal game return.
“To see the growth from day one to where they ended up is exciting,” Lunt said. “Our seniors did a great job of bringing them along and our young kids did a great job of taking the opportunities that were presented to them.”
Lunt was highly complimentary of his seniors: Michael Scheffner, Hayden Borg and Ammon Savage.
“Just huge team players, they put everybody else before them and they’ll do whatever’s asked of them to be successful,” he said.
Scheffner led the Chargers with almost 17 points per game and holds the school record for points scored in a season with 423. Possibly more important was the crucial steal he made against Maple Mountain in the quarterfinals to seal the win.
“Michael was just a natural leader. Michael is a young man that will do anything you ask of him, if it’s putting him on the other team’s best guy, it doesn’t matter what it is,” Lunt said.
Though it was only his first year, Lunt will fondly remember the team’s journey.
“The joy is the journey of the time spent, the ups and downs, the wins and the losses. That is what is fun to remember,” he said.
Lunt came to Corner Canyon with the unique opportunity to teach at the same school as his daughter, and after one season has come to appreciate the parents and school administration.
“I’d like to mention what a fantastic administration we have — Mr. (Darrell) Jensen and the assistants are unbelievable,” Lunt said. “I’d like to personally thank them and also the parents; they’ve been supportive and they’re the ones that make it click.”