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The City Journals

The future of Mountain Ridge basketball appears bright

Jan 02, 2020 11:16AM ● By Greg James

Mountain Ridge boys basketball head coach Scott Briggs has a long history of success, including two state championships. (Photo courtesy of dsandersonpics.com)

By Greg James | [email protected] 

It may be a new school and a relatively young team, but the Sentinels have high hopes this season.

“We have a long way to go,” Mountain Ridge head boys basketball coach Scott Briggs said. “We have had some success. The kids have played really well to start the year. We have shown a lot of toughness and probably surprised a lot of people.”

Surprised or not, the Sentinels grabbed their first win in program history in their very first game, 77-70 in overtime over Hunter.

They trailed at halftime 38-20 and stormed back to send the game into overtime. In the extra period, they outscored the Wolverines to capture the win. Freshman Jackson Moller and junior Zach Farmer each contributed 22 points.

Briggs takes over the newly established program after one season as Herriman High School’s head coach and 23 years at West Jordan High School. Last season, the Mustangs advanced to the 6A quarterfinals with Briggs at the helm. He also won two state championships at West Jordan.

“It has been pretty enjoyable to get to know different families and different kids,” Briggs said. “Everybody is pretty enthusiastic. It has been a good thing.” 

A new program usually needs to earn some experience to progress. The current roster only lists one senior, Chase Carley, and includes four freshmen. 

“Only one senior is a by-product of being a new school,” Briggs said. “We expect these kids to get better every time they step out there, and by the middle of February, we should be playing the best basketball that we can play.” 

Despite winning the team’s first four games, it lost two straight contests to cross-town rivals Herriman and Riverton on consecutive nights.

“It is hard to judge on nights like this; we have some talented kids,” Briggs said. “Riverton is a tough team to play against, and they put it to us. At the end of the day, we will try to learn from it.”

The Sentinels led at halftime 35-30 over Riverton but only managed 19 points in the second half and fell 66-54. Sophomore Merrick Sherwood led the team with 16 points, and Jake Fitton pitched in 11 in the loss. 

“Who knows where that takes us (a young team’s inexperience), but that (getting better each day) is really our only goal,” Briggs said. “We have talented kids, and I am kind of excited to see where the season takes us.”

Mountain Ridge is scheduled to participate in the Olympus High Autism Awareness tournament over the Christmas break. This is a tournament that a Briggs-led team has participated in for several years.

“For us and our families, I feel like staying close to home during the holiday is a good thing,” he said. “Playing in the Olympus tournament is good, and it has a tournament-type format.” 

“The future of Mountain Ridge basketball is pretty bright,” Briggs said.