Silverwolves preseason is prepping them for regionJan 06, 2020 10:46AM ● By Greg James
Senior Parker Applegate averaged 14.2 points per game in the team’s first five contests this season. (Photo courtesy of dsandersonpics.com.)
By Greg James | [email protected]
The Riverton High School boys basketball team started its season with high hopes and aspirations. It’s all contingent on becoming better as a team.
“We are doing well,” boys head coach Skyler Wilson said. “We are getting better every day and every game—that is what I ask of them,”
Five games into the season, the Silverwolves had compiled three wins. Although he had hopes for better, Wilson is satisfied with his team’s effort.
Riverton came from behind to beat its new cross-town rival Mountain Ridge 66-54. The Silverwolves trailed by as many as six during the first half, but a concentrated offensive effort propelled them to victory in the second half.
“Tonight was a big response from us,” Wilson said after the game. “We got buzz-sawed at Juan Diego (the night before), and we got down on ourselves. Things went from bad to worse. Tonight is the beginning of a rivalry, and our kids know these kids. We played good defense and executed tonight.”
Juan Diego dominated the Silverwolves from the beginning. Despite 14 points from junior Cody Nixon and 12 from 6-foot-7-inch senior Cameron Fischer, they were unable to get within striking distance, falling 59-43.
“Like everyone else, we are trying to get better,” Wilson said. “We have some really good pieces, but we are really inexperienced. We are learning on the fly. Our guys have been super coachable and play well together. The issues will work themselves out as the year goes on. The inexperience is the hardest thing to overcome.”
Unlike in years past, the Silverwolves can rely on their newfound height to help them against what are typically bigger teams in Class 6A.
“We have a good big kid,” Wilson said. “Throwing it inside is becoming a big play for us. It is tough to guard an inside-outside game. Sometimes we forget we have that advantage. That is where the inexperience comes in with those things.”
Its outside shooting is coming from Nixon and senior Parker Applegate. Nixon is averaging 11.2 points per game, and Applegate scores 14.3 an outing
“[Applegate is a great shooter; the other teams know that,” Wilson said. “They don’t give him a ton of room. He has had to add to his game. He is learning to drive to the basket, attack the basket. Against Viewmont (he scored 22 points), he really drove it to the basket and got some good shots.”
The Silverwolves are scheduled to begin their region contests Jan. 3 at home against West Jordan. Winning their region has become less important. The Utah High School Activities Association has adopted its new ratings performance index to seed all its teams into the state tournament.
“In some ways, I love it (the RPI),” he said “I like that every game means something. Preseason never seemed right to me; you can’t say these games are not the real season. I like that each game means more. Anything new has created some excitement. You have to win games no matter what.”
Wilson also has added a familiar face to his coaching staff. Former Riverton head coach Steve Galley has returned as an assistant coach.
“I convinced him to come back,” Wilson said. “He was scouting for us and giving us more detailed reports putting a lot of time and energy into it I told him might as well come back and put in the day to day stuff. I played for him, coached for him, and now the roles are reversed. We are both really enjoying it. These are great kids; I feel like this is a great place. They try to listen to their coaches; they go to class and do the right things. Win or lose, they are a great bunch to coach.”