JDCHS boys basketball third best in stateMar 28, 2022 10:28PM ● By Catherine Garrett
By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]
The Juan Diego Catholic High School boys basketball program has an “EAT” mantra that stands for “Effort, Attitude and Teamwork” and that focus has led to a state semifinal appearance in five of the last six seasons as well as eight consecutive region titles.
“The EAT mantra has become more and more a part of who we are as a program,” said head coach Drew Trost. “We definitely still have work to do in all three areas, but it is something we strongly believe in and are constantly working towards.”
This season, the Soaring Eagle team lost to eventual 3A champion Layton Christian in the semis and then defeated Manti to finish third in the state.
“Of course, there is always disappointment at the end of the season and this year is no different,” Trost said. “This team really came together and was peaking at the right time. I was so proud of the strides we made in terms of playing together and playing great defense. We thought we had a good chance to win it all and were bummed to fall short in the semifinals.”
In the 3A state tournament, after a first-round bye, Juan Diego defeated South Summit 49-47 Feb. 19 behind 23 points from junior guard Zuriel Marquez, named third team all-state and 12 from sophomore center Malick Diallo, who was recognized as first team all-state.
In the quarterfinals, Diallo had a huge game with 24 points and 19 rebounds to lead the team over Morgan 49-43 in overtime.
Against Layton Christian, the 6-foot-8 Diallo again put up monster numbers with 35 points and 20 rebounds in an 80-69 loss.
In the third/fourth place game against Manti, freshman guard Noah Bendinger, named to the Region 15 second team, led with 18 points while Diallo had 15, to go with nine boards, and Marquez added 12 in the 73-57 win.
“It is hard to win games in the state tournament, so winning three games is quite an accomplishment,” Trost said, noting the youth on his team in starting three juniors, one sophomore and a freshman. “Zu, Malik Harris and Colby Bryant were excellent all year and look to really lead the team next year. Malick Diallo had an incredible season [with 19 points and 12 rebounds a game, setting school records in rebounds and blocked shots] and Noah made 61 three-pointers, averaging nine points a game, which is pretty impressive for a freshman.”
Among the 19-7 record this season was Trost’s 300th career win—a feat enjoyed at home against Judge Memorial 60-51 Jan. 24.
“We congratulate Drew on a very successful career and wish him all the best moving forward,” said JDCHS Athletic Director Ted Bianco. “Milestones such as this are a testament to the program he has built, the staff who aides him in maintaining the high standards that have been set forth and the many talented athletes who he and his staff have had the privilege to coach.”
“Milestones like that are not possible without great support from my wife, family, administration, assistant coaches and a lot of great players,” Trost said. “God has blessed me with so much support and so many resources—the least I can do is always give my very best.”
A highlight of the season for the team was watching senior manager Jordan Anderson, who has DiGeorge syndrome, get some playing time at the end of the JDCHS game against Providence Hall on senior night Feb. 11.
“Jordan has overcome so much,” Trost said. “The crowd went wild as he took a couple of three-point shots and the last one just barely rimmed out as the buzzer sounded. He is a great kid and has been a terrific manager. It was so fun to see him out on the floor and everyone going crazy for him.”
Also on the 2021-22 JDCHS team were seniors Vaa Hatitio, Nick Kimball, Evan Wigton and Drew Wyatt; juniors Alijah Bendinger, Haruagi Charles, Camillo Ramirez and Jack Raup; sophomores Caden Fenger, Andrew King, Angelo Lewis, Cameron Orchard, Marcus Pino, Shawn Rhodes, Maui Richmond and Aidan Wigton; and freshmen Dawson Bengtzen, Hunter Chamberlin, Eamon Dolan, Aidan Greenwood, Devan James, Darion Otto, Bryton Valdes and Jacob Wyatt.
“I would attribute our success to many factors, including being blessed with a lot of talented players, great support from our administration, and the winning culture we have been able to establish,” Trost said. “We have been fortunate to have some great former players set a high standard in terms of commitment, work ethic and character. Current players are expected to maintain and build upon this culture.”
The JDCHS girls team started the year 0-12 and didn’t pick up their first win until Jan. 14, two games into region play, when the Soaring Eagle squad defeated American Leadership 51-40.
“We had a really tough preseason that could have discouraged the girls, but they were resilient and kept getting better,” said head coach Ashlee McKray. “They were playing strong by the end of region play where we finished tied for third place.”
At the 3A state tournament Feb. 16, Juan Diego defeated North Sanpete 53-44, going up 28-12 at halftime and holding on despite a Hawks surge in the second half.
Junior Alynn Crooms, an honorable mention all-state selection, had a monster game with 27 points, including three three-pointers, to lead the Soaring Eagle.
“This game was a great example of their growth as a team,” McKray said. “They played amazing together!”
Against top-ranked and undefeated Judge Memorial in the second round, Juan Diego lost 70-33, its third time facing their Region 15 rival—and the eventual 3A state champion—this season.
Crooms again led the way with nine points with the loss ending a 5-16 season for the Soaring Eagle team.
Crooms averaged 11 points a game as the leading scorer this year. “Alynn really learned how to create her own shots within the offense, and her competitiveness was contagious to all,” McKray said.
McKray also noted the contributions of senior forward Kyra Hoffman and junior point guard Annette Rodriguez. “Kyra was our rock. She is such a physical and tough player that helped our defense improve throughout the season,” McKray said. “Annette was tough as nails for us and grew immensely in her vocal leadership on the defensive and offensive end.”
Also on the 2021-22 JDCHS squad were seniors Mwende Kavila, Nicole Mamuzic and Kayla Pelayo; juniors Brianna Aquilla, Jenna Butkovich, Nyrvanah Crockett and Melissa Osmundson; and freshmen Madyson Cruz, Thea Gostercic, Avie Hernandez, Camilla Lopez, Maiay Ornelas, Zoe Pappas, Olivia Prosper, Lara Shroff, Sanjula Sunil, Gabriella Trujillo and Cintia Villagomez.
“I felt great about our growth throughout the season,” McKray said. “Highlights for the season came in seeing the girls develop as people and as players through adversity. Life will throw them bumps at times in the future, and you hope as a coach, they can apply some of what they go through in sports to those tough situations later on.”
McKray was assisted on the coaching staff this season by Paul Ceballos, Shannon Beck, Grace Dullanty and Lonnie Zunguze.