Emotions raw for SUU men’s hoops team


Sometimes, it’s hard enough for the Southern Utah men’s basketball team. They have struggled on the court, more often than not, over the last 11 seasons. Winning more than two games in a row is often a serious challenge. It all pales in comparison to real life, where wins, losses, and game scores don’t mean a hill of beans in the bigger picture.

 

The T-Birds played with heavy hearts through the week that concluded with a well-earned 66-62 overtime win over Eastern Washington on Saturday. It marked the return of head coach Todd Simon, who had to miss the Idaho game two days earlier to be with his wife, Kati, at a St. George hospital as they dealt with complications from the birth of their daughter.

 

Finding ways to win is one thing. Praying your newborn comes through healthy before she leaves the hospital is much more challenging, and it’s part of why Simon received an ovation from the crowd at America First Events Center when he was introduced Saturday.

 

Then we learned after the victory over the Eagles that T-Bird freshman Dre Marin played with his older brother on his mind. Marin hit a key 3-pointer in the overtime period and couldn’t hold back tears when he talked about what his brother, who’s battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma, means to him.

 

It was basketball that bonded them together. For one shining moment, Marin knew his performance had an impact for his sibling, a reason to keep smiling and keep on fighting. That’s a small part of the power of sports. It may not be a cure-all, but it’s certainly a helpful healing agent – at least for a little while.

 

-Parowan’s boys basketball team is still on a winning roll, and the UHSAA has some good news in preparation for the 2A state playoffs. After five years at Orem High, the opening round of play-in games for the state tournament has been moved to the Desert Hills gym in St. George on Feb. 16 for the girls and Feb. 17 for the boys. It will be a pressure-filled situation because the losers will see their season come to an end.

 

Through the halfway point of its schedule, the Rams are at 4-2 in Region 18, trailing co-leaders Beaver and Millard by a half-game. They’ve gotten major offensive production from senior Porter Wood, who has averaged more than 21 points per game during the team’s five-game winning streak.

Wood’s run was highlighted by a 30-point night Jan. 10 that included the game-winning hoop in a 44-43 win over Kanab.

 

-After all the joy of last week’s crazy Minneapolis Miracle win by the Minnesota Vikings, they had nothing for the Philadelphia Eagles, who blew them out 38-7 in the NFC Championship game Sunday.

It will be another David – played by Nick Foles this time – trying to slay the Goliath of perfection that is Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4.

 

It was hardly surprising that Brady not only played with an injury to his throwing hand, but engineered another fourth-quarter comeback that knocked out the Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-20.

 

For those who may not know, this will be Brady’s eighth appearance in the big show, and he’ll be going after his sixth ring.

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