ETV News stock photo by Stephanie Olsen
The Pirates will bring back several players this year while adding a number of new faces. “I’ve got a freshman class coming that’s going to be like that one I had last year,” head coach Tom Hughes said. “I would almost say that two of my five starters will be freshman.”
Although five seniors will rejoin the team, many underclassman will play large roles, which could lead to some growing pains. Hughes said it this way, “I think the first third of the season we’ll have a lot of learning, but the second half we should be a pretty good little ball club.”
The Pirates will not feature a lot of height, and as a result, will favor a track meet style of play. The more steals and fast breaks they can create, the higher their chances of winning will be. “We are going to be short and fast. It’s a scrappy, little, young group. We will try to play up-tempo ball,” added Hughes.
The region appears to be up in the air as there are many unknowns going into the season. Region 19 only consists of Green River, Monument Valley, Pinnacle and Whitehorse this year. Monument Valley and Whitehorse will start their seasons at the earliest in January, while Pinnacle is bringing in a new coaching staff. “I think [Pinnacle] will be decent this year,” mentioned Hughes.
Other stiff competition in the state will come from Panguitch, Bryce Valley and Tabiona. “Tabiona amazes me every year,” he explained. “They are smaller than us and they are tough, tough.” With that said, Hughes and the Pirates are looking forward to those difficult matchups. “I’d rather play those games. You only get better when you play better teams.”
When talking about exceptions for the year, Hughes said, “Let’s just get to play, that’s our biggest goal. I’m a little worried there won’t be a season.” Assuming the Pirates are able to take the court, their goal will be to make the state tournament. “As small as we are, our goal is always just to get to state,” concluded Hughes.