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West Valley City Journal

Lancers, Pirates and Wolverines ready for boys basketball season

Nov 30, 2023 12:13PM ● By Greg James

The local high school basketball teams open the season hoping to return to postseason prominence. (Photo courtesy of Kolbie James)

High school basketball season is upon us. The schools in West Valley enter the year with new and yet familiar surroundings. 

Cyprus came away with the Region 2 championship last season. The Pirates also had a strong showing in last season’s state tournament where they earned the No. 2 seed in the 6A classification and were able to defeat Bingham and Syracuse to advance to the semifinals. 

In the semifinal game American Fork forged ahead in the second and third quarters. The Pirates fought back in the fourth, but fell five points short. 

Former Pirate Quentin Meza was named Gatorade Player of the Year and The Deseret News named him Mr. Basketball. Meza ended his career as the fourth leading scorer in state history. He accepted an offer to continue his career at Wofford College in South Carolina. He was not the only player to take the next step to college basketball. Justus Jackson-Fobbs signed to Western Wyoming Community College, Arou Ayuen to Ridgewater College, Kaden Christensen to Northwest College, Spies Tia also to Western Wyoming and Diego Mulford to College of Southern Idaho. 

Meza was not the only honoree for the team. Head coach Tre Smith was named coach of the year. 

This year’s squad will be rebuilt with the team playing this summer at a Las Vegas team building tournament along with one at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy. 

Cyprus, Granger and Hunter high schools were moved in the UHSAA’s 5A classification, Region 4, but the region includes several of their familiar opponents in West Jordan, Taylorsville and Kearns. 

Hunter is led by junior Hunter Phannolath, last season he had the fourth-highest season-scoring total in school history. Noah Togiai is the school leader with 507 points, Phannolath had 416.

The Wolverines first home game is scheduled for Dec. 1 against Providence Hall. This begins a stretch of three home games, Judge Dec. 5 and East Dec. 8. 

Last year Hunter finished with only five wins. That was good enough for sixth place in Region 2.

The Wolverines second leading score is set to return for his senior season this year. The 5-foot-10 guard, Zaquel Cossa scored a season high 36 points against Granger last season. 

Granger returns 5-foot-10 senior guard Daudi Aweyso from last years team. He scored 242 points last season. He improved as the season progressed averaging 16.2 points per game the final five games of the year. 

The Lancers started the year with a 60-56 victory over Waterford Nov 17. Aweyso scored 29 points, Senior Stephen Kpaleh had 12.

They are scheduled to travel to Summit Academy Dec. 5 and host Jordan Dec. 8. The Lancers start region play Jan. 3 against Taylorsville.

Granger finished in seventh place in Region 2 last season and missed qualifying for the state tournament. λ