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Taylorsville Journal

Bruins basketball wins multiple titles and awards

Apr 10, 2018 04:48PM ● By Greg James

Bruins assistant coach Marci Grayer and the team’s seven sophomores celebrate their Region 18 championship. (Bruins sports information)

The Bruins might as well have rented a Brinks armored truck to bring home all of their trophies from the Region 18 basketball tournaments in Ephraim, Utah.

The womens team beat the College of Southern Idaho 79-70 in the championship game to win the region title. The first step for the team to accomplish its goal to return to the NJCAA National Tournament. 

“I am proud of our team,” womens head coach Betsy Specketer said. We got punched in the first quarter, but we never quit.” 

Tia Hay contributed 32 points on 12 of 17 shooting; Rian Rawlings scored 14, and Jamaica martin finished with 13.

The men were not to be out-done. They defeated CSI 69-68 in a nail-biter comeback. They trailed at the half by four points. In the second half, they shot a blistering 71 percent to earn the title.

Sophomore Christian Gray scored 19 points in the championship game, yet it was truly a team effort, as the Bruins had nine players score in the game.

“It is our goal to be playing our best basketball at this time of the year,” Bruins mens head coach Todd Phillips said.

The men finished their season with a 29-3 regular season record. They hosted the NJCAA District Championship game defeating Arizona Western College 89-86. The Bruin men’s team advanced to the national tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas where they lost a heartbreaker to South Plains Community College 78-79.   

The Bruin womens team finished its season with a 26-6 overall record winning the region tournament before falling 59-60 in the opening round of the NJCAA National Tournament on March 19. 

Specketer earned Region 18 womens coach of the year. Hay was awarded player of the year honors. Miki’alo Maio was named to the All-Region First Team; Martin and Kimauri Toia both were honored as Second Team All-Region.

Hay averaged 19.3 points per game this season. She is from Melbourne, Australia and laughs that everyone asks her if she has a pet kangaroo. She was also named a Womens Basketball Coaches Association All-American. 

The Bruin men placed two players on the First Team All-Region: Kur Kuath and Gray. The All-Region Second Team included Bushmen Ebet and Alec Monson; Dalven Brushier was an Honorable Mention team member.

Kuath is an Oklahoma University signee, and at 6-foot-9, he averaged 10.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game. Gray averaged 13.2 points per game.

Phillips was named co-coach of the year. He shared the honor with CSI head coach Jared Phay. 

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