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South Salt Lake Journal

Tale of two halves for Cottonwood boys basketball as it’s stunned in state first round

Apr 03, 2022 07:36PM ● By Brian Shaw

By Brian Shaw | [email protected]

Inside the Cottonwood High gymnasium stood a sea of students in white shirts that matched the Colts white uniforms marking a festive occasion: Cottonwood’s first home state playoff game in 15 years.

They stood for the entire game against Maple Mountain on Feb. 23, including four student reporters who near as anyone from a distance could tell were supposed to be seated at a scorers’ table with an ESPN banner draped over it.

To the casual observer it probably even looked like a momentous occasion for the four— despite the fact they weren’t actually working for the network. The banner was made from white fabric; the letters ESPN stenciled on by a red permanent marker.

That said, it’s good to have dreams, and the Cottonwood boys basketball team undoubtedly had some as well on this night in which Maple Mountain were simply the better team, knocking down nine three-pointers while handing the Colts a 73-60 loss and eliminating Cottonwood [15-9] from the state tournament in the first round for the eighth time in 15 years. 

Senior Robbie Yates, who was also named a Deseret News 5A All-State Honorable Mention selection after the tournament, had 15 points to pace the Colts in the loss.

Senior Noah Widerburg also had 14 points, six rebounds and five assists in his final game as a Colt, while senior Cooper Lindsey scored 10 points and knocked down two three-pointers in his last game as well.

Buoyed on by a student section that stood for the entire game, the Colts played a gutty first quarter, punctuated by a Maple Mountain player receiving a technical foul. At that point the Colts trailed 15-12.

In the second quarter, Maple Mountain used its athleticism in the backcourt to score multiple baskets in transition after the Colts missed some uncharacteristic shots in the paint, and were down 28-14 at the halftime break.

A 4-0 run led to a Colts surge that cut the Maple Mountain lead down to single digits with four minutes to go in the third quarter, but the visitors from Utah County and the No. 20 seed in this year’s 5A state tournament pushed Cottonwood’s deficit back to 11 at 38-27 with 3:04 to play in the third.

In the fourth quarter, Cottonwood had two three-point makes called back by offensive fouls in the paint that would have trimmed the Colts deficit to under 10 points.

It was a rough night for the Colts who couldn’t get anything to fall from junior Harkirath Makhar in his traditional spirited demeanor despite having had some good looks at the basket, nor from gritty senior Dom Versluis who Maple Mountain left open on numerous occasions during the game.

In all, it was still a productive season for Cottonwood though, and nothing to hang their heads in shame over. The Colts say goodbye to seven seniors who helped Cottonwood get back to where they were back in 2007 when the school last hosted a state playoff game.

For 2021-22, the Cottonwood boys basketball team was: Ryan Nielson, Jackson Price, Andrew Sandoval, Cooper Lindsey, Rowyn Anderl, Harkirath Makhar, Mason Tolley, Max Russo, Chris Cox, Noah Widerburg, Evan White, Robbie Yates, Spencer Caton, Aiden Oliphant, Peyton Reynolds, Roman Caywood, Dom Versluis and Daniel Bergeson. The team’s head coach was Marc Miller.