John Wright joins local chapter of Phi Slamma Jamma
While dunks are fairly routine in high school hoops across the nation, it’s a rare occasion in Colorado 1A basketball, and even more so in Crested Butte.
Matt Martin, now the assistant coach of the Titans, was the only Titan to break the seal in Mt. Olympus and he did it back in 2003.
Junior John Wright joined Martin in the local chapter of Phi Slamma Jamma during the Titans’ game against Moffat on Friday, January 11.
Wright carried the ball up the sidelines, destined for a routine fast break lay-up in the second quarter of the Titans’ game.
As a lone Moffat defender hustled back, attempting to disrupt the easy two points, Wright had something else in mind.
When the defender tried to cut him off, Wright stepped in front of the unfortunate soul, shifted the ball to his right hand, rose up high off the Mt. Olympus floor and dunked it, with extreme prejudice.
Wright’s dunk counted for two of the 76 points scored that night in a 76-26 rout by the Titans.
The Titans jumped out to a 14-0 lead before Moffat scored its first basket of the game. By the end of the first quarter, the Titans were up 25-5, allowing head coach Robin Loyed to filter in bench and junior varsity (JV) players for the remainder of the game.
The pounding continued at the hands of the Titans bench and JV as the scoring barrage continued. Junior Chris Sharpe closed the first half for the Titans with a three-pointer at the buzzer and Crested Butte took a 40-15 lead into halftime.
Seniors Daniel Hargrove and Joe Bosshard helped shepherd the young players through the second half of the game, directing the offense. Their work helped junior Jon Watters enjoy a standout performance, scoring eight points in his first minutes as a Titan.
Freshmen Sky Eglehoff and Henry Linehan got a taste of varsity play as well in the game, showing what lay ahead for the Titans team in the future.
After a couple of shaky possessions, the two players found their comfort zone on the court connecting for 10 points, including a behind-the-back-pass from Linehan to Eglehoff for two points in traffic.
Sharpe sank another three-pointer as the Titans shook off the Christmas cobwebs with the colossal win in their first game since the break.
The Titans’ game Saturday, January 12 against Norwood was almost a carbon copy of the Moffat win, sans the high-flying heroics of Wright.
After scoring 17 points the night before against Moffat, senior Randy Evans was the go-to-guy in the first quarter against Norwood, scoring seven points, including a three-pointer to open the game.
Senior Alexei Desmarais found his groove Saturday night after recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in the fall. Desmarais can be deadly from behind the three-point arc but struggled in the first month of the Titans’ season.
After Saturday night, Desmarais appears to be back on track, scoring 21 points, including shooting three-for-three from behind the arc.
Meanwhile, the Titans’ defense was oppressive, handcuffing the Norwood team with the combination of a half-court press and man-to-man defense.
The Titans’ defense forced Norwood to commit two five-second violations in its first two possessions, and junior Robbie Holleran shut Norwood’s all-state player down completely.
The Titans built a 41-9 lead at halftime and Loyed turned to his JV crew again to pick up where the varsity left off.
They did just that, carrying the game the final two quarters for the 71-27 win.
“I was really proud of them,” says Loyed of his younger players. “I thought all of our JV players stepped up.”
More important, Loyed saw his team’s defense step up in games that could have been much closer.
“I was really pleased with our man-to-man defense and our half-court press,” says Loyed.
The Titans now prepare for a road trip with games against Debeque on Friday, January 18 and then Plateau Valley on Monday, January 21.