PRICE, Utah (February 28, 2019) – There may be no tougher conference in the NJCAA for men’s basketball than the Scenic West Athletic Conference.
The conference annually features some of the nation’s best programs in a two-month race for seeding in this week’s Region 18 tournament. This year’s tourney, hosted by USU Eastern, will feature several contenders who are trying to advance to next weekend’s NJCAA District One championship game.
The All-Region 18 teams released Thursday evening reflect several of those contenders, with SWAC champion Snow College sweeping the respective individual awards to lead the All-Region list. Snow’s Logan Hokanson earned the Region Player-of-the-Year award, with Badgers coach Robert Nielsen earning the Coach-of-the-Year honors.
Nielsen, who also serves as the institution’s athletic director, led the Badgers to their first Scenic West regular-season title since 2017 after finishing the year with a 9-3 record in league play. The Badgers, who are ranked at No. 16 in the latest NJCAA polls, finished the season at 24-6 overall. This is Nielsen’s seventh year as the program’s head coach after previously serving in coaching roles at a variety of institutions around the country.
A sophomore from St. George, Hokanson averaged 11.1 points a game for Snow College. The Badgers forward is an all-around player, averaging 3.4 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game.
Hokanson is joined on the All-Region 18 First Team list by teammate Truman Moore. Other All-Region 18 First Team mentions include St. John’s commit Cameron Mack (Salt Lake), Southern Idaho’s Malik Porter and Brayden Parker, and USU Eastern’s Blaze Nield.
Every Scenic West institution has a single mention on the All-Region 18 Second Team, with Snow’s Jake Walker leading the list. Other mentions include Salt Lake’s Josh Colon, Southern Idaho’s Roberto Gittens, USU Eastern’s Ognjen Pantovic and Colorado Northwestern’s Greg Martin.
The All-Region 18 Honorable Mentions include: Snow’s Stockton Shorts and Brayden Johnson; Salt Lake Community College’s Hunter Schofield and Daron Henson, who is a Washington State commit; USU Eastern’s Matija Novkovic and Chase Berry; Southern Idaho’s Coreyoun Rushin and David Walker; and Colorado Northwestern’s Anthony Mera and Dre’Quez Harvey.
The All-Region 18 list is voted on by the head coaches of the Scenic West Athletic Conference. The league’s staff compiles and publishes the list.
The Region 18 tournament begins Thursday at USU Eastern, with the semifinals scheduled for Friday and the championship game scheduled for Saturday. USU Eastern and Colorado Northwestern will participate in a play-in game Thursday, with the winner advancing to play top-seeded Snow College in a semifinal. Salt Lake and Southern Idaho will play in the other semifinal. Saturday’s championship game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.