JDCHS boys basketball team falls in state semis, girls in quarterfinalsApr 26, 2021 10:28AM ● By Catherine Garrett
The Juan Diego Catholic High School boys basketball, led by seniors Matty Rodriguez, David Kinneberg, Jag Gill-Martin, Talon Valdes and Matt Rohden, lost in the 4A state semifinals 52-50 to Desert Hills March 2 at the Sevier Valley Center. (Photo courtesy Drew Trost)
By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]
For the second year in a row, the Juan Diego Catholic High boys basketball team was in the 4A semifinals and for the second consecutive season, a team from Southern Utah beat the Soaring Eagle squad by the same score 52-50 to end their season. This year, it was Desert Hills who came out on top March 2 at the Sevier Valley Center.
“I’m really proud of this group,” head coach Drew Trost said. “It was extra frustrating to lose because I really love this team and it still stings. Coaches never want to admit who their favorite teams are, but this is sure a special group.”
“It wasn’t how we wanted it to end, but we had a great year,” senior David Kinneberg said.
Juan Diego won its seventh straight region championship, going undefeated through 12 games, and grabbed the No. 1 seed heading into the state tournament.
After a bye in the first round, the Soaring Eagle squad defeated Pineview 72-39 behind 21 points from Talon Valdes and 12 and 11 from Kinneberg and Malick Diallo respectively.
In the quarterfinals, Juan Diego beat Snow Canyon 64-39 with Diallo’s 25 points leading the way and Valdes adding 15 to set up the semifinal matchup with Desert Hills. In the team’s final game, Diallo again was the leading scorer with 16 points while Kinneberg had 14 and Valdes 11.
Trost credited his five seniors—Kinneberg, Valdes, Matty Rodriguez, Matt Rohden and Jag Gill-Martin—who he has watched literally grow up through the Juan Diego youth program for their contributions to the program. “I’m going to miss coaching them,” Trost said. “They have worked so hard to continue our culture here and provide great leadership in being the first to practice and the last to leave. They’ll be tough to replace as they built on a great basketball tradition and are leaving their own legacy.”
Valdes, who was named the Region 10 Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive year, scored over 1,200 points in his high school career and was the team’s leading scorer this season.
Kinneberg was named to the region’s 2021 First Team, just two seasons into playing varsity basketball for the first time after he switched sports from the baseball diamond to the hardwood.
Kinneberg, the son of Bill and Janet Kinneberg, went against the sport his dad coaches at the University of Utah, to give more time to basketball. As he grew in height, he also improved tremendously on the court to become the second-leading scorer for the Soaring Eagle team this year with nearly 10 points a game.
“David is the poster child for hard work,” Trost said. “He has put in a lot of work to get where he’s at and now he’s moving on to play at the next level.”
“I’ve learned so much from basketball especially about teamwork in working and communicating towards the same goal,” Kinneberg said.
Also on the JDCHS squad this season, that finished 22-3, were Colby Bryant, Nick Ceballos, Hauragi Charles, Weston Eder, Caden Fenger, Gage Gardner, Danny Gutierrez, Vaa Haitiio, Malik Harris, Julian Hernandez, Cole Jackson, Kai Kelly Jones, Dalan Kennedy, Nick Kimball, Andrew King, Kayson Larson, Angelo Lewis, Andrew Lombana, Makuei Lueth, Boko Nannemann, JJ Pardo, Camilo Ramirez, Jake Raup, Maui Roopinia, Aidan Wigton, Evan Wigton and Drew Wyatt.
Trost was assisted on the coaching staff by Joe Colosimo, Esllliey Tan, Jonathan Schrieber and Brady Greene along with team manager Jordan Andersen.
The Juan Diego girls team also lost to the Desert Hills program in the 4A state tournament going down 62-57 in the quarterfinals March 1 at the Sevier Valley Center after a strong start in the game before fading a bit.
“I think we shocked Desert Hills in the first few minutes and that was when everyone was like, ‘OK, we can do this,’” said junior Kira Rhay, who was the second-leading scorer on the squad with 11 points a game. “It didn’t end the way we wanted it to and it was really a disappointing loss, but I’m proud of the girls. I feel like we could have gotten the win if we were better prepared for such a close game.”
The Soaring Eagle team beat Hurricane 37-33 in the second round. They battled back from a scoreless second quarter to take a four-point lead going into final quarter, which proved to be the winning margin. Rhay led the team with 14 points, including three 3-pointers, to set up the game with Desert Hills.
In that matchup, Rhay poured in 22 points while junior Mahinetea Tavenae scored 15 points and sophomore Melissa Osmundson added 10.
“We really came together as a team in our final game, both on and off the court,” Rhay said. “The energy and support of each other was the most present it’s been all year.”
Also on the Region 10 champion squad this season were leading scorer Tavenae, who averaged 13 points a game, along with Jenna Butkovich, Hailey Carlson, Alynn Crooms, Destinee Flores, Kyra Hoffman, Sophia Lopez, Nicole Mamuzic, Malia McConnell, Eliana Moreno, Maia Rhay and Cierra Turner.
“I was really proud of all the girls for stepping up and believing in ourselves,” Rhay said. “I’ve seen us come together more as a team these past few weeks more than the months before and I’m really excited to see what we can do if we continue to work hard and play the best players.”