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Taylorsville Journal

Kearns starts season on track to defend its region title

Feb 07, 2022 03:29PM ● By Greg James

Cougar junior Kapeli Smith has averaged 3.3 rebounds per game this season. (Photo courtesy of Kearns High historian)

By Greg James | [email protected] 

The boys basketball team at Kearns High School knows defending its region title is going to be a difficult task.

“Cyprus is going to be the favorite. We will need to play well to beat them,” Cougars head coach Dan Cosby said before the season began.

If Kearns is not a favorite to repeat, then someone forgot to tell the team.

The Cougars have started off strong this season. They are winners in 12 of their first 14 contests and at press time are undefeated in region play.

It seems as though Kearns is ready to face its competition.

“We still have everyone coming back and we are the defending region champs with high expectations,” Cosby said. 

Eight seniors are on the roster for the Cougars this year. Five of them are averaging double digits in points. Ivrson Lavizzo leads the team with 11.9, Gott Daw has 11.6, and Ryker Osborne 11.5.

Osborne had never played in a varsity game before this season. 

“We felt we needed to get him (Osborne) some experience early this year,” Cosby said.

The team has concentrated on playing tough defense. Their backcourt pressure causes turnovers and havoc for their opponents.

“We really like to press and set the pace a little bit. We really want to get up and down the floor,” Cosby said. 

On Jan. 4 the Cougars faced Hunter High School. They jumped in front 14-7 after the first quarter. The lead came in part because of the pressure they applied to the Wolverines in the backcourt. Hunter seemed to begin to handle it and came back before halftime. By holding the Wolverines to only eight points in the fourth quarter the Cougars  were able to pull out a 52-40 victory.

“These are really good kids. Right now the team has a 3.4 grade point average. The players never give us much to worry about. We need the experience our upperclassmen have. We played a lot of close games last season. I think we will be a fun team to watch this year,” Cosby said

Kearns competes in Region 2 of the UHSAA’s 6A division. At the press deadline, they were ranked eighth overall by the association's RPI. 

“Roy is new to our region. Taylorsville and Cyprus will be the big two we have to face,” Cosby said. “Roy knocked us out on a last-second shot last year.”

In the 6A quarterfinals last season, Roy jumped out to an eight-point lead and led at halftime by seven. Kearns cut into that lead in the third and trailed by only two heading into the fourth quarter. Roy’s last-second shot eliminated Kearns from the tournament. 

“Roy was a big team last year and they gave us all we could handle. We may have eyes for revenge,” Cosby said. 

Amare Ames and Javon Lee are also upperclassmen that contribute to this year’s team success. 

At 6-foot-4 Daw leads the team in rebounds, averaging 6.4 per game. Lavizzo has 4.4 assists per game and also leads the team in steals. 

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