Zach Snively Realistically, the Elite Eight. This is how seniors Josh Puccini and Justus Bennett described their expectations for the Rock Canyon …
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Realistically, the Elite Eight.
This is how seniors Josh Puccini and Justus Bennett described
their expectations for the Rock Canyon High School boys basketball
Puccini leads the team in scoring with almost 17 points per
game, while Bennett, a big three-point threat, comes in second with
14 points per game. Both scoring threats are team leaders,
according to coach Jim McClurg.
Rock Canyon seems to have a bit of a theme: chemistry. Puccini
and Bennett believe this season, which has started 6-6, has the
chemistry required to lead to a deep post-season run.
“We have more fun then we did last season,” Puccini said, also
mentioning the chemistry he spoke of so often leads to fewer
problems between teammates.
Recalling an under-whelming season a year ago (6-18), Bennett
said of this season, “We play with more intensity. We bring it on
McClurg believes the 6-6 mark the team sat on as of Jan. 9 is
not quite representative of the team’s accomplishments to this
point in the season.
“We have played six 5A schools so far, and beaten several of
them,” he said.
Rock Canyon is a Class 4A school that competes in the 5A
Continental League until the postseason.
With league play beginning this week, a young Rock Canyon team
looks ahead to Regis and ThunderRidge. Those are games Puccini and
Bennett believe will be statements to help determine the outcome of
this young season.
Puccini expressed an interest in playing basketball in college
but stressed education was the most important part of picking a
prospective college. But he would give no indication of exactly
where his future hoop dreams lay.
Sophomore and leading rebounder Matt Hopper said, “We have lots
of young guys, and will be good for the next few years.”
Hopper feels the team may be competing for a state championship
in a few years. Tagged as a quiet but emerging leader by McClurg,
Hopper will have to help channel that excitement and energy in his
other young teammates in coming years to reach that goal.
McClurg runs a practice that is high in intensity and very
“It’s the greatest game to play and watch and I enjoy being a
part of these kids lives as a teacher, coach, and friend,” he
This seemed evident when McClurg described the team and
As practice neared its conclusion, Justus Bennett caught a nice
crisp pass near the sideline just outside the three-point line and
did what he has done on 46 percent of his attempts this season, and
sank a beautiful arching three pointer.
Rock Canyon kicks off its league play 7 p.m. Jan. 16 on its home
court in Highlands Ranch.
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