How often does a team score the first 11 points of a game?
“I think this is the first time I remember doing that,” Cedar Valley senior guard Colton Smith said.
The Aviators set the tone right from the tipoff for Friday night’s Region 10 battle against Ogden in Eagle Mountain, building a double-digit lead before the Tigers even got on the board.
It was part of a complete game at both ends of the floor for Cedar Valley, which never let Ogden get closer than seven points and pulled away for the impressive 59-36 victory.
“That was the most comfortable victory we have ever had here,” Aviator head coach Blake Pugmire said. “All of our wins and a lot of our losses have been less than 10 points. It was nice for the boys to get a win like that.”
Pugmire was even more encouraged because Cedar Valley lost a couple of starters to injure and had another who was absent for personal reasons.
“We were able to do that shorthanded,” Pugmire said. “Being able to have guys step up and still having that improvement is really nice to see.”
One of the big keys for the Aviators was being locked in defensively, especially on Ogden star DJ Frye who averages 16.6 points per game.
“We set up our defensive game plan to slow Frye,” Pugmire said. “He is a great athlete and an aggressive player. Coach Todd Richardson does the scheming on defense, so he deserves a lot of credit. We knew we couldn’t let him get loose.”
Smith said it was a team effort.
“We all played good defense,” Smith said. “Stopping Frye was the biggest emphasis. Coach Richardson always points out the players for us to watch out for. If we shut them down, we are in good shape.”
The solid defense provided opportunities at the offensive end and Cedar Valley shared the scoring load as four players finished in double figures, led by senior guard Declan Whitmarsh with 14 points.
“We’re starting to gel together,” Pugmire said. “A lot of these guys haven’t played together for very long, since this is our first year as a school. We starting to understand where players are going and make nice passes. It’s nice to spread out the scoring since it is harder for a defense to defend multiple players and that makes us harder to beat.”
Smith and senior guard Ethan Hackett chipped in 12 points apiece, while center Will Endsley had 10 points.
Smith said the team was able to relax and just enjoy playing basketball.
“That was one of the funnest games we’ve had so far,” Smith said. “When we were at a tournament, before one of the games Coach Pugmire told us that we had nothing to lose, to just go out and have fun. That’s kind of stuck in our heads. We are finally starting to click together as a team. It’s been really fun in the last couple of games.”
The Aviator senior said he has seen a lot of improvement during the season but believes the team still has strides to make.
“We have to continue to go out there, do our thing and get better,” Smith said. “If we keep playing like we have, we will do well. I’m excited to see how we what we can become.”
Pugmire said the emphasis will continue to be on the little things it takes to win.
“We’ve started doing those, getting on the floor after loose balls, boxing out, taking charges, things like that,” Pugmire said. “Guys are seeing the results. Now we just need to keep doing those and improve.”
Cedar Valley (6-8, 3-1) will look to keep things rolling when it plays at Tooele on Jan. 15 at 7 p.m.