|Jake Mecham puts up the shot.|
The Green River Pirates finished their basketball season in Cedar City with a 1-point loss to the Meridian Mongooses 57-56 in the Utah State 1-A Boys Basketball tournament.
The Pirates started off their final week with a 76-53 home court victory over St Joseph. Against St Joseph, the Pirates got out to an early lead and never looked back as they made sure to get their place in the state tournament. They led by nine points after the first quarter and then cruised to a 23-point victory. Green River now stood at 20-3 for the year.
Bowman Mitchell had the hot hand in this game as the senior finished the game with 32 points. Gabrin Ekker added 19 points, including five 3-pointers.
At Cedar City, Green River's reward for finishing third in region was to face the Dugway Mustangs, a team that came into the tournament with an equally impressive 19-2 record.
Dugway took the early lead in this close ball game, leading 15-12 after the first quarter. A strong second quarter by the pirates gave them a 4-point lead at the half. After continuing to lead by two points at the end of the third quarter, Dugway came out smoking in the fourth quarter and outscored Green River by nine to take a 63-56 victory and put the Pirates in the consolation bracket. Ekker, with 18 points, and Mitchell with 15 points were the leading scorers in this game for the Pirates.
On day two of the tournament, the Pirates came out determined to stay in this tournament as they played a game against Bryce Valley. They won 70-57. Green River outscored their opponent in every quarter of this victory.
Ekker again led the Pirates in scoring as he contributed 23 points. Jake Mecham was the second leading scorer as the sophomore had 16 points. Kedric Bayles with 12 points and Mitchell with 11 points were also in double figures for the game.
On day three, the Pirates played the Meridian Mongooses, a private school out of Provo. Meridian came into the game with a 12-12 record, but had lost to Rich High School on opening day by only two points, 63-61. Meridian High then got their first tournament win ever in state basketball on day two as they defeated Duchesne 60-51. Meridian got their second victory as they squeaked out a 1-point victory over the Pirates 57-56.
Green River led after each of the first three quarters but could not hold off the Mongooses in the fourth quarter, as they were outscored by nine points 26-17. And just like that, the season was over. This had been a good season for a good team that featured seniors, juniors and sophomores in starring roles. Next year should prove to be just as exciting.
Mecham was the leading scorer in this game with 16 points. Ekker with 11 points and Lance Richards with 10 points were the only other Pirates to score in double figures. Green River finished the season at 21-5.
Team members are: Kedric Bayles, Lance Richards, Ren Hatt, Gabrin Ekker, Bowman Mitchell, Cody Webster, Jared Johnson, Hyrum Mitchell, Jerome Burns, Jason Luke, Garion Ford and Jake Mecham. Coaches: Daniel Roden, Royd Hatt and Blaine Luke. Team managers were C.J. Vetere and Michael Burnett.