ROY — Fans, players and parents always wonder what a new coach of a team will be like, leaning their ears into the wind hoping to catch a snippet of information.
For Roy High’s case in boys basketball, the first game with Scott Hunt on the sideline came Tuesday night against Ogden High, a 63-38 win for the Royals where they harassed the Tigers all night defensively.
The first quarter started somewhat close, then ballooned to a 16-4 Roy lead and a 22-7 lead.
The Royals led 45-20 at halftime and 57-28 after three quarters; they gave up three made field goals in the first half and seven for the whole game (Ogden shot 23 of 36 from the foul line).
A lot of the offensive production can be credited to a defense that grabbed almost every rebound and that didn’t give the Tigers an easy look at a pass or a whole shot until the game’s outcome wasn’t up for debate anymore.
The goal of pressure on defense isn’t to create turnovers every possession. That’s unreasonable. The goal is to create a lot of turnovers and speed up other teams’ offenses and make them uncomfortable.
“I thought our pressure caused them a lot of trouble early, we forced a lot of turnovers, we got some offense off our turnovers, we kind of got a good rhythm that way,” Hunt said. “For a week in the new program I thought we executed some of our sets pretty well early — second half, no — but I was really pleased with the way the first half turned out.”
Hunt’s Bear River team — which he called an aberration due to the Bears having four deadeye 3-point shooters on the floor all the time — averaged 9.4 made 3-pointers per game on 22.5 attempts last year.
It didn’t matter if they were 3-pointers coming off a screen or in transition or from way beyond the line, Roy shot the long ball early and often and made nine, with four in the first quarter.
Junior guard Kobe Schriver led all scorers with 22 points and made six 3-pointers. Justin Kirkland scored 13 and both Easton Bitton and Andrew Foit had seven.
“We did pretty well, but then we also had some lapses in the second half where we let off the gas and (Hunt) wants us to keep the foot on the gas the whole time,” Schriver said.
The style of play is something Roy will need going forward especially once Region 1 games start, which at first glance is a 14-game gauntlet with big teams, small teams, lights-out shooting teams and teams that can do a little of everything.
As for the style of coaching, Hunt prides his teams on intense defense, pressure, not getting outworked — which is how Roy operated Tuesday night — with some, ahem, tough love.
“He’s not a teddy bear,” junior guard Kobe Schriver said, smiling.
Hunt, who has coached four boys basketball teams to state titles (Panguitch in 1998, South Sevier in 2006, 2011-12) in Utah, elaborated.
“I do love these kids and they know that, but I challenge them and we have high expectations and standards. I want them to reach their potential,” he said.
I think they’ve adjusted, I think they understand who I am as an individual, I think they know I love them and care about them and want them to be the best that they can be,” Hunt said.
The Ogden outlook
Roy’s halftime lead was the knockout punch that effectively answered the question of who would win Tuesday night.
“Again, it is game one, we’ve had a lot of confidence, we’ve been seeing some really good things out of guys that, quite frankly, we haven’t seen in the past,” Ogden head coach Brock Randall said. “I feel like we have a lot more confidence, but I feel like (Roy) just punched us right in the mouth and I think that shook our confidence. That kind of steamrolled us a bit.”
Senior guard Isaiah Coria scored 14 points, Bonneville transfer DJ Frye added 11 and Austin Richards had seven. Ogden shot 23 of 36 from the free throw line, something else Randall pointed to that needs improvement.
One of the offensive keys for Ogden this season would be engaging all five players on the floor, not letting one or two guys run the show — and not taking quick shots.
Randall said Roy had a big part to do with it, but the Tigers jacked up too many quick shots for his liking.
One didn’t have to stand in the Ogden locker room afterward to guess the vibe; all one had to do was look at the wide-eyed freshmen basketball players awkwardly milling around a nearby stairwell for 15 minutes.
“I won’t have a problem getting them to come out and compete in practice and try to fix those things. Definitely things where, you talk about what’s between the temples and we gotta control that,” said Randall, who pointed to his head.