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Juan Diego's defense leads Soaring Eagle to 61-38 win over Stansbury

STANSBURY PARK — After the Stansbury High boys basketball team went on a 9-3 run to open Wednesday night’s contest against Juan Diego, Soaring Eagle head coach Drew Trost had seen enough, and called a timeout with 3:45 remaining in the first quarter.

What did Trost say in the huddle?

“‘Wake up!’ Not much more than ‘Wake up,’” Trost said. “I think that any time you come on the road, the other team, a lot of times, is really charged up and excited, and they got the crowd behind them and sometimes it takes a second for the visiting team to get going and that was — jeez — definitely the case.”

Juan Diego’s players responded to their coach and woke up. The Soaring Eagle went on a 6-0 run out of Trost’s first timeout and cut the Stallions lead to just one at the end of the quarter.

In the second quarter, the Soaring Eagle outscored the Stallions 15-3. Stansbury never regained the lead, and Juan Diego improved to 5-0 in region play, handing the Stallions their first region loss of the season in a 61-38 win. It was Stansbury’s first loss in five games, as the Stallions had reeled off four straight wins before falling on Wednesday. It was Juan Diego's sixth-straight win.

“I thought we handled some adversity in the first half and came out in the second half, played a lot better. We were able to get the ball inside better and finish around the rim. I thought they (Stansbury) did a nice job, they had a good game plan that bothered us early, and then we were able to settle down and play,” Trost said.

Forward Jason Ricketts led the Soaring Eagle with 16 points, and the inside game was essential to Juan Diego’s game on Wednesday night.

“Huge. That’s what we’ve been doing all season, we’re a big team, we try and really pound you inside, so that really played its course in the second half,” Trost said of the team’s post play.

Guards Raimoana Tinirauarii and Matt Kitzman also played a big part in Juan Diego’s win, scoring 14 points each. Drake Schlappi led the Stallions with 14 points.

The Soaring Eagle’s defense was suffocating, forcing Stansbury into turnovers, at times employing a press and trapping the Stallions. Stansbury could never get into a real rhythm on offense and couldn’t get over the hump or make a run to get back into the game after the second quarter.

“We changed to a half-court trap and it bothered them a little bit. Mainly, I thought we just started working harder and hustling more, and that was a big difference,” Trost said.

Juan Deigo played without Kemari Bailey, who was out with an injury, but Trost said that he liked the way his squad is clicking.

“We have a key injury that hurts us a little bit, but still, to get some wins without him is big. To see a lot of our seniors step up and play even a little bit different positions is big,” Trost said.