|East Carbon's Bryant Bridge (33) takes the ball away from Meridian's Shawn Hartley (22) during the Vikings last home game of the season.|
All their lives athletes are told if they work hard, have dedication to sport and if they are there when they need to be, they will certainly win games. Maybe not all, maybe not most, but at least some.
This years East Carbon boys basketball team has done all those things, yet they must feel deceived by that lore, because in their final two games of the season they could not find that elusive victory they have been longing for all year. They finished the basketball season with a 0-15 record overall and with 12 losses in their final year in Region 18.
Last week they faced their final home game on Wednesday night as they faced the 5-14 Meridian Mongooses. However, even with that impetus they were not able to pull it out, despite some good runs, as they lost to the Provo team 85-55.
Then on Friday they traveled to Wendover for the final game of the this years schedule and played the Wildcats where they once again lost 105-47.
At home they had some good chances, although they were of the come-from-behind kind.
In the first period the Vikings dug themselves a hole they would never climb out of when the Mongooses put up 30 points to their seven.
In the second period things were better as they held the Provo team to only 22 points and put in 16 themselves.
It was in the third period when things seemed to improve and it actually looked like the team could come back.
Bryant Bridge, who had wrestled all year instead of playing basketball joined the team for his first game and between him and normally high scoring Kyle Leonard they began to help the team move, by pouring in three point shots in the second half. For the game Leonard had four and Bridge garnered five.
But despite the glimmer of hope, and with the Vikings whittling down the lead, the Mogooses were not through and rallied taking back their dominance. East Carbon did outscore Meridian 15-13 in the period, but even with a short rally in the fourth quarter it wasn't enough.
For the game Kyle Leonard ended up with 18 points, while J.D. Leonard put in 16 and Bridge added 15. The only other two players that scored for the Vikings were Sawyer Leonard with four and David Stewart with two.
At Wendover the Vikings had one last chance, but the Wildcats would have none of it as they poured on the scoring with 14 players putting points on the board.
The 10-9 Wildcats scored 33 points in the first period while holding East Carbon to only seven. In the second they scored 20 while the Vikings were able to manage only 10.
In the third quarter it only got worse for the Vikings as they absorbed a 35 point outburst by Wendover.
Finally in the fourth quarter the East Carbon boys were able to take back some control and actually won the quarter 18-17.
The Vikings were led in scoring by two players, Steve Brown and Kyle Leonard. Both had 11 points. Chris Candelaria and JD Leonard scored 10 each. Sawyer Leonard scored five.
In each game the team hustled and played hard and at times looked very good. But a few lapses in defense and at times some poor offensive execution cost them the season.
It was a long season and a sad finish to the team's year of residence in Region 18. Next year the Vikings will play in the newly formed Region 19 with such teams as Green River, Monticello, Whitehorse, Navajo Mountain and Monument Valley. No more trips to the west desert towns or Utah County during the regular season.
And next year instead of being the most far easterly destination for teams in their region to play at, they will be the northern most team in Region 19.