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Pirate basketball finishes seventh in state

Spencer Marshall fights for the ball.
TJ Hughes takes it to the hoop for Green River.

sports writer

The Green River Pirates played some of their best basketball of the season in the just concluded 1-A Utah State basketball tournament held at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield. Green River finished seventh in the four day affair after losing Saturday afternoon to Piute 70-60.

The Pirates played Tintic on Wednesday and defeated the Miners 63-41 in a game that was never close. Green River led 15-2 after the first quarter and 32-13 at the half. Tintic did not have the players to compete against the Pirates.

TJ Hughes was the leading scorer in the game for Green River with 21 points and in fact TJ led the team in scoring in all four games played. Besides scoring, TJ had 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals in the game.

Also scoring in the Tintic game were Jon Mendez with 14 points, Spencer Marshall, Nick Corrigan and Tyrell Shumway with 7 points each, Corbin Mecham with 3 points and Chance Pfander and Jovani Flores with 2 points. Mecham probably had the most unique haircut of any player in the tournament.

After the easy victory, Green River was pitted against the second ranked Panguitch team, a team that had lost only one game the entire season. With a 22-1 record, Panguitch was clearly the favorite by everyone except the players on the Green River team.

Green River, despite having a lot of fouls called on them in that first quarter of play, were leading after the first quarter 16-14. Hughes and Pfander had each scored 5 points in the period. With players in foul trouble early on, Shumway got a lot of playing time and made the most of it in the second period. Shumway had a pair of three-pointers plus hit four straight free throws as his 10 points were needed. The Pirates led 34-29 at the half.

In the third quarter Green River got up 43-35 before Panguitch closed out the quarter on a 15-1 run to now lead 50-44. It appeared right here that any upset was out the window because most Pirates were in foul trouble and Panguitch had the lead.

Green River battled back behind the scoring of Hughes 8 points early in the quarter and the Pirates actually took the lead at 58-57 with 1:49 left in the game but the Pirates failed to score again and the upset was not to be.

Marshall, Hughes, Corrigan and Mendez all fouled out of the game and Mecham and Cox each had four fouls on them. This was not an evenly officiated ball game. Panguitch won this game at the free throw line where they shot 45 of those shots and made 27 of them. Green River on the other hand only attempted 11 free throws in the game. No team should go to the line 34 more times than their opponent.

Hughes led the team with 14 points and Pfander and Shumway each scored 12 points. Corrigan and Mecham each scored 7 points and Marshall scored 4 with Mendez scoring 2 points.

On Friday, Green River defeated Monument Valley in the consolation bracket 55-43 after leading 35-15 at the half. Hughes led with 19 points and Mendez added 12 points. Pfander and Marshall each scored 6 points and Mecham and Corrigan each scored 4 points in the win.

On Saturday, Piute and Green River played evenly through three periods of play before Piute outscored the Pirates 24-14 to win by 10 points at 70-60. Hughes led the team by scoring 12 points but Corrigan, Pfander and Mendez were right behind with 11 points each. Marshall scored 9 points and Mecham scored 6 points. Mendez had 13 rebounds in the loss and Hughes had 9.

Green River finished the season with a 17-6 record and a seventh place finish in the state tournament. They led Panguitch by one with 1:49 left in a game they should have won except for the fouls. They played well.

Monticello went on to win the 1A boys championship with a 34-31 win over Panguitch.

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