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The City Journals

JDCHS boys and girls basketball looking to conquer region play

Jan 13, 2022 11:47AM ● By Catherine Garrett

Juan Diego Catholic High School junior center Melissa Osmundson returns for the Soaring Eagle program who won the Region 10 title last season and are one of the favorites in Region 15 this year. (Photo courtesy Ashley McKray)

By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]

Boys basketball

Sophomore center Malick Diallo returns as the key player on the Juan Diego boys squad, hoping to continue the Soaring Eagle’s seven-year run on the region title. The team— which is currently ranked No. 1 in the 3A ranks statewide—replaces five seniors, three of whom are now playing collegiately.

“Malick is super talented and one of the best players in the state of Utah,” said head coach Drew Trost, who is in his ninth year with JDCHS. 

Juan Diego will be breaking in a new point guard to the varsity team in junior Zuriel Marquez. The previous floor general, Talon Valdes, ran the system for three seasons so JDHS is adapting to a new style of play to take advantage of their size inside. “Zuriel  looks poised to have a terrific season,” Trost said. “We have several other players ready to step in and contribute in a big way this year, including three football players—seniors Vaa Hatitio, Nick Ceballos and junior Colby Bryant.”

Also playing for Juan Diego this season are seniors Nick Kimball, Cole Jackson, Evan Wigton and Drew Wyatt; juniors Alijah Bendinger, Haunag Charles, Malik Harris, Andrew King, Cameron Orchard, Camillo Ramirez, Jack Raup and Maui Richmond; 

sophomores Hunter Chamberlain, Malick Diallo, Caden Fenger, Angelo Lewis, Marcus Pino, Shawn Rhodes and Aidan Wigton; and freshmen Noah Bendinger, Dawson Bengtzen, Eamon Dolan, Aidan Greenwood, Devan James, Darion Otto, Bryton Valdes and Jacob Wyatt.

Trost will be assisted this season on the coaching staff by Joe Colosimo, JD Ahlstrom and Josh Zentner along with team manager Jordan Andersen.

“They are a talented and hungry group of guys who are ready to learn and battle,” Trost said. “We look to cut our teeth with an extremely challenging, preseason schedule that will truly push us. If we grow and rally around our defense, effort and teamwork, this team can be very special.”

So far this season, the Soaring Eagle team defeated Emery 72-50 Nov. 23 behind 32 points from Diallo and 12 from Marquez. They also beat Herriman 49-37 Nov. 30, again led by Diallo with 22 and Marquez with 12. They also won a close one against Timpanogos 62-59 Dec. 3 with the Diallo/Marquez duo combining for 35 points. At the

Skyridge Tournament Dec. 9-10, Juan Diego lost to Dixie 68-46 despite 18 points from

Diallo and then beat Wasatch 57-40 with Diallo and Marquez combining for all but 10 of the team’s points.

The team is also scheduled to face Orem Dec. 17, Tooele, Dec. 29, Cyprus Dec. 29, Granger Dec. 29, Westlake Dec. 30, Cyprus Dec. 31, Salem Hills Jan. 4, Maple Mountain Jan. 7, Bountiful Feb. 1 as well as home-and-away region games against Judge Memorial, American Leadership Academy, Summit Academy and Providence Hall.

“My goal is always for our players to learn about God, about life, and about how to work as a team,” Trost said. “We’ll also be aiming for the region championship and putting ourselves in the best possible position to make a run in the tournament.”

Girls basketball

Juan Diego won the Region 10 championship last season—finishing in the top 10 in 4A—and now look to be one of the favorites in 3A’s Region 15. 

The team is fairly young this season, but do return junior center Melissa Osmundson and senior guard Nicole Mamuzic. “We have a group that doesn’t have a ton of varsity experience so those two will be our leaders for our team this season,” said head coach Ashlee McKray, who has been at JDCHS for nine years in two coaching stints.

Juniors Alynn Crooms, Jenna Butkovich and Annette Rodriguez will also be looked to by McKray as significant contributors on the court for the Soaring Eagle team.

McKray said the team has been working on their chemistry and effort as they begin the season. “We are always wanting them giving their best effort and competing on each and every possession,” she said. 

Also on the squad this season are seniors Kyra Hoffman, Mwende Kavila and Kayla Pelayo; juniors Brianna Aquilla, Jenna Butkovich, Nyrvanah Crockett, Alynn Crooms and Annette Rodriguez; sophomores Zoë Pappas and Lara Shroff; and freshmen Madyson Cruz, Thea Gostercic, Avie Hernandez, Camilla Lopez, Maiya Ornelas, Olivia Prosper, Sanjula Sunil, Gabriella Trujillo and Cintia Villagomez.

McKray is being assisted on the coaching staff by Paul Ceballos, Shannon Beck, Grace Dullanty and Lonnie Zunguze and team managers Averi Buchanan, Gracie Bathurst and Mallory Gallegos. “Averi, Gracie and Mallory are former players and then injuries prevented them from playing, but they will wanted to be a part of the program,” McKray said.

To begin the year, Juan Diego lost to Ogden 56-48 Nov. 18 with Osmundson scoring 15 points to lead the team. Against Timpanogos Nov. 23, they lost 71-34 with Osmundson putting in 13. Crooms had 13 points in a 60-33 loss to Sky View Nov. 30 with Osmundson and Mamuzic both recording double figures in scoring in a close loss to Salem Hills 48-45 Dec. 2 with 17 and 14 points, respectively, to begin the Desert Hills Holiday Classic. The Soaring Eagle team suffered two more losses in the tournament with a 56-39 setback to Hurricane Dec. 3—behind Crooms’15 points—and a 54-37 loss to Snow Canyon Dec. 4 with Crooms again leading the scoring with 16. The tough preseason continued with a 41-37 loss to Spanish Fork Dec. 7 and a 67-33 loss to Morgan Dec. 10.

Juan Diego is also scheduled to face Millard, Richfield, Morgan and Carbon at the 3A Preview Dec. 17-18, Emery Dec. 21, Green Canyon Jan. 4, Salem Hills Jan. 6, Logan Jan. 8 before region games with Judge Memorial, American Leadership Academy, Summit Academy and Providence Hall.