SLCC Men’s Basketball punished the Alumni Pump-N-Run in their Nov. 1 season opener. The Bruins finished the game 94 to 69, leaving their opponents holding their heads in an easy defeat.
Head coach Todd Phillips started Skyler Halford, Jaden Jackson, Gary Payton II, Sai Tummala, and Seth Weinheimer who all came out energetic and ready to compete at their top levels. It showed in the first ten minutes of play, as Bruins had already built an eleven point lead, scoring 26 points while their struggling opponents scored a measly 15 points.
The scoring onslaught from the Bruins did not stop there. With four minutes remaining in the first half, SLCC was up by 18 points. SLCC players continued to score at will, showing no mercy as their tally continued to rise at a steady rate.
Although many of the Bruins played very well there was one player that stuck out and shined bright: returning combination guard Skyler Halford
Halford kept fans on their feet with his high intensity play and aggressive attacks at the basket. Scoring 26 points, dishing out four assists and swiping three steals, Halford was the Bruins key player and had an outstanding game. Halford led the way for the Bruins in the well-earned defeat over the Utah Alumni Pump-N-Run.
“I felt really good about the way we played and I was happy with my performance,” said Halford.
As only a six-foot-one guard, you wouldn’t think he would be able to pull down four boards, but he did. It reflects on his position on the court as a leader doing whatever it takes to help his team win.
“I guess being the oldest player on the team and a returner from last year, has given a certain leadership role on our team,” said Halford
“I’ve been blessed to have lots of leadership opportunities in my life that have taught me a lot,” said Halford
In addition to Halfords great play, Jaden Jackson and Morgan Hesleph gave impressive performances in the high intensity game
Freshman shooting guard Jaden Jackson ignited the crowd with two back to back three-point shots to put SLCC up and astonishing 25 points, ending the first half 54 to 29.
While former redshirt Morgan Hesleph came into the game and contributed by stealing the ball for an easy uncontested layup, and then a few plays later knocked down a big crowd sparking three point shot.
“Our energy was good along with our tempo, we got out to an early lead and maintained it through out the entire game,” said Hesleph.
The biggest highlight of the game came from small forward Gary Payton II. Payton is a very athletic and has exceptional jumping abilities. Just after the start of the first half, the Bruins got out on a fast break and passed the ball to Payton, who leapt high in the air to throw down a thunderous tomahawk dunk that made the crowd erupt in appreciation.
After an exciting game the Bruins come out on top, defeating the alumni Pump-N-Run 94-69. The Bruins continue on their journey to reach the National title as they did in 2009. They leave for Arizona to play in a tournament on Nov. 9., where they will face Tohono O’Odham and Arizona Western