Cottonwood boys basketball battles through up, down month of December
Jan 29, 2019 02:20PM
By Brian Shaw
Senior Donovan Cooper drives for a lay up during a region game. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
By Brian Shaw | [email protected]
If you've ever been to Lagoon Amusement Park you know that roller coaster cars travel in two primary directions: up and down.
The Cottonwood boys basketball team hasn't been different in that regard, beginning the merry month of December on an uphill trajectory before plummeting at rocket speed to the bottom.
To open the month, Cottonwood traveled to West Jordan on Dec. 4 to take on the Jaguars. After trailing 11-10 to open the game, the Colts blew open the road contest, outscoring West Jordan 30-17 in the second and third quarters before taking a 57-44 victory.
Senior sensations Eli Reynolds and Britton Jensen led the outside-inside scoring punch with 15 points apiece for the visitors. Fellow senior wing Preston Davis chipped in 10 for Cottonwood, who shot 52 percent from the field for the game.
The next contest saw Cottonwood head back home Dec. 11 to take on Highland in another non-conference matchup. The Rams held onto a four-point advantage going into the break. But, the homestanding Colts would get their second win in a row for the month, outscoring Highland 44-22 over the final two stanzas to secure a 70-54 victory.
Reynolds and Jensen again led the way for Cottonwood, scoring 19 and 16 points. Davis chipped in 12 for the Colts and 11 points from senior Josh Riak, who shot a whopping 71 percent from the field.
Cottonwood's good fortune for December would come to a screeching halt in the next game on Dec. 14 against Olympus—one of the top teams in Class 5A.
The Colts would hang close at home in the first quarter, trailing by just 18-15 after one. But, Olympus would prove to be too much in the second quarter and Cottonwood would trail 44-31 at the break—losing 80-67 at the buzzer after the two teams battled back and forth.
In what could be a preview of a state playoff game in March, the Colts got 23 points from Reynolds and 12 from Jensen. But, no other Colts player scored in double figures in the loss.
Cottonwood's bad luck continued on the road at Murray on Dec. 18. The Colts trailed by just two points, 20-18, at halftime. The two teams were at war again after the third quarter, as Cottonwood was down by just two, and the Colts would tie the ball game at the end of regulation sending it into overtime.
The first overtime saw each team score just two points, sending this battle into a second overtime period. The two teams would open up their playbooks a bit more, scoring eight points apiece as the stalemate continued into a third overtime.
In the third overtime, Murray outscored Cottonwood 13-8 to hand the Colts their second loss in a row, 72-67. Reynolds led all Cottonwood scorers with 28 points while Jensen added 14. Senior Donovan Cooper tacked on 10 points as did Preston Davis.
After such a tough loss in three overtimes, Cottonwood needed to get back on the winning track of what has been a roller coaster month. It got its wish against Cyprus, rolling to a 36-23 lead after two quarters before taking a 74-47 win on Dec. 26.
In the win, Preston Davis led the way, scoring 17 points while shooting a scorching 78 percent from the floor. In all, 12 players got their names in the Cottonwood box score while five scored at least double figures for the Colts, who opened the Riverton Holiday tournament in style.
The Colts would be in for a test against Class 6A powerhouse Kearns on Dec. 27, however. The Cougars rolled to a 48-24 lead at the break and let the Colts back in the game a little bit in the third quarter before dealing Cottonwood its third loss to go with as many wins in December, 70-57.
The Colts were led by the usual quartet of seniors, as Reynolds led the way with 14 points. Jensen, Davis and Riak added 13, 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Cottonwood continued its dastardly December non-conference slate in preparation for region play at the Riverton Holiday tourney, closing with Provo on Dec. 28. The Colts would find themselves in another defensive slugfest as neither team gave the other much ground to stand on through the first two periods, as Cottonwood held a slim 24-19 advantage.
The Colts would extend that lead to seven before Provo stormed back in the fourth. But, Cottonwood would hold for a 60-57 victory. Reynolds led all scorers with 17 points in the win and Davis had 16. As a team the Colts shot 53 percent from the field.
Cottonwood would close out the merriest month of all and the Riverton Holiday tourney with a non-conference matchup against Wasatch. The Colts again found themselves in a battle, taking a razor-thin 44-42 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Wasatch would storm out of the locker room in the third quarter and carry a four-point lead into the fourth. But, Cottonwood—who has been in tough ballgames all season long—pulled away in the fourth and secured an 81-74 thanks to double figure scoring from six players out of the seven who took the floor on Dec. 29, giving the Colts a happy new year to look forward to and a 5-3 record in December.