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Draper Journal

JDCHS basketball seasons both end in second round of playoffs

Mar 30, 2023 01:53PM ● By Catherine Garrett

Juan Diego Catholic High School senior Malik Harris was a key leader for the Soaring Eagle team in its first year playing in the 5A classification. (Photo courtesy Mikelle Marston)


In its first year playing in the 5A classification for boys basketball, the Juan Diego Catholic High School boys basketball team won a first round state playoff game 50-49 against Bountiful before losing to the eventual state champion Alta Hawks 68-43 Feb. 24.

“It was a pretty solid season overall, so I’m pretty pleased,” said head coach Drew Trost.

The Soaring Eagle squad went through some transition in going up against bigger schools in nearly every game this season which led to some growing pains. “It was certainly more of a challenge playing that level night in and night out,” Trost said. So, Trost was particularly pleased with his team’s effort on senior night against Skyline Feb. 17 where they pulled out a 77-76 overtime win. Juan Diego had been on a four-game slide and the gutty performance of his varsity squad included a buzzer-beater by sophomore Bryton Valdes which sent the game to overtime and eventually into the state playoffs five days later.

“I was really proud of the grit and determination our guys showed when things weren’t going great,” Trost said. “But, they played tough and just battled.”

Sophomore Noah Bendinger led the team offensively this season with 19 points a game while junior Derelle Desire averaged 11 points. Trost credited the leadership and defense of leading rebounder Malik Harris—who will be playing Division 1 baseball next season at Memphis—and fellow seniors Camilo Ramirez and Colby Bryant.

“Our seniors were just terrific all year and their presence on the floor always made such a difference for us,” Trost said. “They were excellent and certainly led us in our inaugural 5A season.”

Also on the JDCHS squad this season were senior Alijah Bendinger; juniors JJ Aguirre, Caden Fenger and Maui Richmond; sophomores Dawson Bengtzen, Hans Carlson, Hunter Chamberlin, Devan James, Dylan Magleby, Luke Meyer, Darion Otto, Marcus Pino, Tony Rosas and Jake Wyatt; and freshmen Javier Aguirre, Bandon Backman, Ben Bayer, Deng Deng, Gargang Deng, Braylen Fail, Aidan Janiga, Chris Jimerson, Nico Mayorga, Trey Nicolodemos, Noah Schuyler and Rahiti Tinirauarii.

Trost was assisted by Joe Colosimo, James MacIntyre, JD Ahlstrom and Matt Kitzman on the coaching staff this season.

“We’ve got a lot of young talent who got to play a lot, so we feel pretty good about that,” Trost said. “We need to continue to build depth with strong and mature players as we set up for the future.”


The Juan Diego girls squad reached the second round of the 3A state playoffs with a win over South Summit 65-52 Feb. 15. Senior Alynn Crooms, the team’s leading scorer, had 25 points in the win while freshman Quincy Kegel added 16. 

Their season ended three days later with a 55-42 loss to second-seeded Richfield behind 11 points from Crooms.

“It was a great first-round home win against South Summit,” said head coach Ashlee McKray. “Then, we fell short against a very strong team in Richfield.”

The Soaring Eagle squad finished the year with a 12-12 record, led by Crooms with 12 points a game and Kegel with nine. “Both of these players had a phenomenal year for us,” McKray said.

Senior Melissa Osmundson was credited by McKray as the team’s “anchor” defensively. “She battled some injuries late in the season, but she made a huge difference for us when she was on the court.”

McKray also noted the play of senior Jenna Butkovich this season. “Jenna was an amazing utility player for us,” she said. “We asked her to play every position at some point and she was solid at each one of them.”

Also on the JDCHS team this year were seniors Brianna Aquilla, Nyrvanah Crockett and Annette Rodriguez; junior Zoe Pappas; sophomores Gigi Garcia, Tea Gostevcic, Avie Hernandez, Ariela Martinez, Clarissa Sanchez, Sanjula Sunil and Denver Whaley; and freshmen Elly Clark, Hannah Haney, Kaitlin Hulverson, Ayen Kuath, Maile Mataele, Malena Modtland, Ellie Palmer, Madison Pickers, Ella Sebit, Niella Sebit, Leini Tui and Sienna Vonderohe.

McKray was assisted on the coaching staff by Leia Stechschulte, Shannon Beck and Grace Dullanty.