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South Salt Lake Journal

Cottonwood boys basketball gallop right along as one of state’s top teams

Feb 06, 2023 01:46PM ● By Brian Shaw

Jackson Price brings the down court for the thriving Colts basketball team. (City Journals)

According to Cottonwood head coach Marc Miller, the magic formula that this Cottonwood Colts boys basketball squad has been using is one that is tried and true.  

“The fact that they like playing together and have put the team first, is the reason for our success,” said Miller. 

The Colts are currently ranked No. 3 in the latest UHSAA (Utah High School Activities Association) RPI, added the Cottonwood head coach.

If you’re wondering where this Colts team might stand in Region 7, Cottonwood Athletic Director Greg Southwick thinks it belongs among the elite as well. 

“There hasn’t been a more dominant team in our region that I’ve seen,” said the Cottonwood AD to City Journals—and he’s been part of some big-time basketball programs before. 

This Colts squad has averaged 73 points per game through 15 games, but have allowed just 55 per contest. Only perennial power Olympus (1,088) has scored more points in Class 5A than Cottonwood—13 more. 

Yes, Cottonwood (14-1) has scored a whopping 1,075 points and have only lost once, way back in November against Herriman. 

Since then, the Colts haven’t just defeated most of their opponents—they’ve trampled them. 

It’s got a premier D-1 level star in 6-foot-7 junior Chris Cox who despite the constant double-and-triple teams that a player of his caliber will attract from the opposition, is still averaging 22 points per game.

But what really makes Cottonwood so dangerous according to Southwick is not just that there’s Cox to contend with; it’s the quartet of seniors the Colts can turn to when Cox is bottled up.  

It’s got a facilitator who can not only get his own shot when Cox can’t get as many good looks at the basket in senior Kirath Makhar—he is Class 5A’s premier passer of the rock (check out the profile on the senior, in this month’s City Journals) and is averaging 11-5-and-9 (points, rebounds and assists).

There’s senior Jackson Price who as the Colts’ No. 2 scoring option at 13 points per game wears the No. 1 jersey—maybe to throw off the scent a bit. (Cox wears the No. 2 jersey.) When Payson did all that it could in a critical Region 7 showdown Jan. 13 Price stepped up and got his, netting 17 points and hauling down six rebounds. 

(The Colts still won, 70-61. It was the closest that any region opponent has come to defeating Cottonwood thus far.) 

Senior Max Russo has been one of Utah’s top sharpshooters from behind the arc. In a 25-point win at home against Stansbury, he knocked down a whopping eight 3s en route to a 26-point night. The senior has made five three-point shots in five of his last 15 games. 

Senior big man Aiden Oliphant stands at 6-foot-6, but it’s his rebounding that has helped the Colts gallop to a 4-0 start in Region 7 play. 

“I have found that our success has come because our players have bought into winning and enjoy playing with each other,” Miller said.  

According to Southwick, the Colts can go about 8-to-10 players deep. Like everyone else around the program, he’s excited about what’s to come for what is arguably the greatest Cottonwood boys basketball team, ever—though he did offer one caveat: 

“I have a good feeling it’s only the beginning, but we’ll need to find more options (for scoring) soon.”