HYRUM – Over the last five seasons, Preston has won four state championships, been runner-up and lost only a combined 12 games. The Indians had a three game losing streak that started at the hands of Sky View at the Indian Classic Tournament, but got back to winning with a 77-45 victory over Logan. Since then, the Indians have rattled off three straight and looked like the historically-dominant team against the Mountain Crest Mustangs.
Preston started the game on a 7-0 run and never led by less than five on the way to a 63-42 win against Mountain Crest. The Indian offense was too powerful for the Mustangs as they outscored them every quarter. Mountain Crest had a 7-0 run in the middle of the third to cut it to a 42-28 lead, but Preston responded with a 12-4 run over the next five and-a-half minutes.
The Indian’s leading scorer, Gabe Hammons (averaging almost 18 points per game and scoring 17 in nine of the 11 games) was held in check with only nine points, but nine Preston players scored and were led by Braden Hess with 13. Hess was the only double digit scorer for coach Tyler Jones’ squad.
Mountain Crest won the turnover battle for a second straight game, 16-13, but the Mustangs’ opponents continue to to generate fast break points that Mountain Crest hasn’t been able to. Brecker Knapp’s six first quarter points were all off turnovers. The Indians had 11 turnovers in the middle two quarters but the Mustangs were unable to take advantage.
Mountain Crest’s second leading scorer Joseph Hunsaker was held to only three points at Tooele the night before, but led all scorers with 15 points, all from the three point line. However, Tanner Bone struggled again only scoring two points in the first quarter. Bone and Hunsaker average 21 combined for the season, but Bone has struggled to sink shots over the last few games. Preston Wiberg was the other Mustang in double digits with 10 points.
Senior guard Nick Lefevre returned for coach Kevin Andersen’s squad and finished with six points, all in the second quarter, but had three turnovers in the first quarter. Lefevre missed the last two games and didn’t travel with the team. Tyson Merrill started in place of him but Lefevre looked healthy and closed out the game for Mountain Crest.
There were 21 combined fouls in the game but both teams were held off the free throw line, combining for only 11 foul shots. Preston was 6-7 from the charity stripe while the Mustangs’ season long struggles continued, going 1-4. Mountain Crest had shot better since the two week layoff from Covid but is still 41-88 for the season (47%).
The Mustangs close out non-region play at 2-8 after making up the games against Ogden and Tooele the last two weeks and start region play Friday at Logan. The Grizzlies are 8-2 on the season and have been off since Friday when they beat Grantsville 54-47 in overtime. That was the Cowboys’ first loss on the season and they were the number one team in class 3A going in to that game.
Preston finishes 3-1 against Region 11 on the season, beating the Mustangs twice, defeating Logan and losing to Sky View. The Indians are 9-3 and are the road at Hillcrest Tuesday night. Preston has not lost more than four games in a season since the 2014-15 season.