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South Valley Riverton Journal

Reigning region champion Riverton boys basketball team focused on new season

Dec 01, 2023 11:06AM ● By Josh McFadden

With players such as Zach Edwards (pictured here going up for a dunk), the Riverton boys basketball team is looking to contend for a region championship. (Photo courtesy Dave Sanderson)

Last season, the Riverton boys basketball team made significant strides. This year, head coach Skyler Wilson wants the team to take things one game at a time. He believes if his players do this, everything will take care of itself, and the Silverwolves will be right there with some of the top teams in the state. 

“The main expectation we have this season is to compete at the highest level of high school basketball in Utah,” Wilson said. “We don't spend a lot of time talking to our team about outcomes like taking state or winning a region title. I want our players to focus on the process of getting better every day and enjoy their time together.”

Riverton won Region 3 last season with an 8-2 record. Overall, the Silverwolves were 17-7 and narrowly lost to Davis in the second round of the Class 6A state tournament. It was quite a turnaround from 2021–22 when Riverton went 7-16 overall and 2-8 in league play. 

To build on last year’s success and have another solid year, Wilson said the players need to be unselfish and play together as a single unit.

“An indicator for success this season will be whether or not this group of players truly comes together as a team,” he said. “One thing I love about basketball is that every single member of the team has a role to play. Despite what their parents may tell them, it isn't everyone's job to score the most points on the team or play the most minutes. But everyone’s job is important. In order for us to have a great season, our players will have to embrace and become a star in their respective roles. That's when this game gets really fun.” 

Four players return this season who played major varsity minutes last season. All seniors, the players will have expectations of providing leadership and producing on the floor. Forward Zach Edwards (the only returning starter from last season), center Christian Heninger, guard Kaden Allred and guard/forward Ben Barrus were integral last season and will be once again this year. 

Wilson has glowing reviews of the four players. 

“[Edwards] is the best athlete in our school,” he said. “[Edwards] is a great scorer and passer around the basket. He's also a terrific rebounder. [Heninger] is entering his fourth season of varsity basketball at RHS. His 6-foot-11-inch size gives us a huge presence inside. I'm excited to see what he can do in the paint this year. [Allred] and [Barrus] are tough as nails. They are two of our best defenders, which will be so important for us this year. [Barrus] can score inside and outside, and he has a motor that just keeps going. [Allred] is the best passer on our team, and he makes everyone around him better. Our players all love playing with him.”

It won’t be easy for opponents to score on Riverton. The Silverwolves excel on defense, especially around the basket. Wilson also said the team has good versatility and length at the wing position. However, Riverton competes in a difficult region, Region 2, which features Bingham, Copper Hills, Corner Canyon, Herriman and Mountain Ridge. Corner Canyon is a new region opponent for the Silverwolves, and the Chargers just so happened to win the 6A title last season. 

“I think there are really great coaches in our region, so we will have to be ready for every single game,” Wilson said. “Beyond that, it's the ups and downs of competitive team sports. These guys are going to have to respond when things inevitably don't go our way. We will have to rely on our senior leadership to guide us through.”

The Silverwolves open the season Nov. 28 at Brighton. The first Region 2 game is Jan. 12 at Corner Canyon. 

Wilson, a former Riverton High School student and basketball team member loves coaching this group and is fond of the time he has spent leading the Silverwolves. 

“I'm so lucky to coach where I do,” he said. “I've spent 20 seasons here, first as a player, then an assistant coach and now as head coach. This place is really special to me. I learned so much about life and basketball from my coaches—Steve Galley, Dan Henderson and Jay Applegate—in my time at RHS. And I enjoy passing those lessons on to a fabulous group of young men. I'm so proud of this team. They make up some of the best students in our school and community. I know they will represent us well in the upcoming season.” λ