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The City Journals

Soaring Eagles Use Tough Preseason to Prepare for Region Play

Jan 26, 2016 08:48AM ● By Ron Bevan

By Ron Bevan | [email protected]

Draper - It hasn’t been the best starts for the Juan Diego boys basketball team, but the wins and losses suffered in early matches may be the catalyst to a good region showing.

“We have taken some lumps, but we grew a lot,” coach Drew Trost said. “We took a pretty aggressive preseason schedule that included a lot of 4A and 5A schools.”

Juan Diego finished 7-7 during the preseason run. The 3A school counted losses to 5A Herriman and 4A Orem as a learning process. The Eagles picked up a few key wins along the way, including a 58-52 victory over East High School.

“We also had big wins in a national tournament in Las Vegas,” Trost said. 

Trost wanted a tough preseason because he knew the team lost one of the school’s all-time best players to graduation. Gabe Colosimo graduated in 2015, but not before setting numerous records at Juan Diego.

“He was our all time leading scorer and rebounder, not to mention setting assists and steals records,” Trost said. “I knew he would be a lot to replace. But the boys have responded and I am proud of how they are executing our game plans.”

The Eagles have three seniors taking charge of leadership duties on the team. Avery Ames, Malik Fagan-Foster and Alex Hoffman are all returning starters off last year’s squad that made it to the quarterfinals of the state 3A tournament. Fagan-Foster and Ames are leading the team in scoring. Fagan-Foster has poured in 230 points while Ames has added 216.

But Hoffman has been contributing mostly as a helper to the coaching staff so far this season. Hoffman was the starting quarterback on the state championship football team this season. A football injury has kept him on the sidelines for basketball.

“We are hoping to get him back for the final few games of the year and maybe for our state playoff run,” Trost said.

Juan Diego began its Region 11 title run with back to back victories. The Soaring Eagles beat Bear River (75-49) Jan. 13, then took down Stansbury (83-42) two days later.

Behind the senior scoring duo is a trio of long ball threats helping secure wins. Esliey Tan, Matt Kitzman and JD Alstrom have all proved they can hit the three-point shot. Tan has 34 treys this season, with Kitzman adding 29 and Ahlstrom another 28.

“We have a good balance with our younger players who have moved up this year,” Trost said. “People key in on Ames and Fagan-Foster and it creates open shots for the others.”