Pirates qualify for boys state tournament
Apr 03, 2018 04:49PM
● By Greg James
Tre Smith, the Cyprus boys basketball coach, guided the Pirates to a return appearance in the state tournament. (Cyprus basketball)
The Cyprus boys basketball team was challenged this season to take accountability on and off the court.
“I had no doubt in my mind that this team would take the right steps to be successful,” Pirates head coach Tre Smith said. “The kids were challenged all year to work for everything. I was impressed with their competitive edge.”
The team took initiative and behind the leadership of their five seniors they improved their grades and win- loss record. They achieved a team-wide 3.4 grade point average and won 14 games overall.
The Utah High School Activities Association moved Cyprus to the 6A classification and placed them in Region 2 with their crosstown rivals Granger, Hunter and Kearns.
“This is a great group of young men. Everything we did we wanted to do in the right way. I love to win and be competitive, but I think our role is bigger than basketball,” Smith said.
The Pirates 14-10 record this season was a vast improvement from last year’s 5-18 record. They finished third in Region 2 and qualified for the 6A state tournament.
A signature victory of the season came against Kearns Jan. 19. Trailing 41-34 at the half the Pirates outscored the Cougars down the stretch. Skyler Case hit free throws with seconds remaining to secure the 72-70 victory; Josh Amasio scored 26 and Alex Foster 21.
Amasio led the team in scoring with 12.8 points per game, but four Pirates averaged scoring in double figures. Amasio, Tayven Aloi (10.5 ppg), Alex Foster (11.1) and Case (10.1).
In the first round of the state tournament they lost to Layton 69-51. Amasio had 12 points and Case 10 in the loss at Utah Valley University’s UCCU Center. It was the Pirates first appearance in the tournament in eight years.
“I was happy with our team and growth this season. We will have a great off season of development. I think the most important thing is skill development in the summer. That is my main focus, but I leave it to my players to get in the gym on their own time,” Smith said.
Next season the Pirates will rely on the size and athleticism of several players that earned playing time this year. Aloi is the highest scoring returner, but 6-foot-6 sophomore Noah Burbidge along with the 5-foot-9 guard Logan Hendrickson and sophomore Jordan Orozco could anchor an experienced Pirate team.
“Our motto this year was ‘culture matters.’ Everything we did we wanted to do it in the right way,” Smith said. “They all set the expectations and met them. They understand that if I can’t trust them in the classroom I can’t trust them on the court.”