Even though most of his teammates were state tournament newbies on Monday night at the Maverick Center, Orem’s Zach Hunsaker certainly was not.
Hunsaker helped lead Woods Cross to the 4A semifinals last year as a sophomore, which included scoring the game-winning basket in the final 10 seconds against Olympus in the quarterfinals.
That was last year. This year Hunsaker is staring for the Orem Tigers, and he had a few words of advice for his current teammates before taking the floor against his old teammates.
“Before we came out of the tunnel, we asked Zach to tell us what it’s like to play at state cause he’s been there and done it. Not only did he take care of himself but he helped the team with some good advice,” said Orem coach Golden Holt.
Hunsaker admitted he had a little bit extra adrenaline facing his old team, but it wore off pretty quickly as he settled into the game.
Not surprisingly, Hunsaker was his typical consistent self against the Wildcats finishing with 13 points, nine assists and four rebounds. His nine assists were a career high.
“When you step on the floor, no one’s your friends. Your only friends are your teammates. I didn’t want to worry about it. I just wanted to stay focused,” said Hunsaker.
Holt said he was a bit nervous about how his point guard would handle facing his old team, but he thought he did a fantastic job.
“You worry about that. And they were obviously amped to play against Zach. They were pretty physical with him and the refs let it play, and that’s OK. I thought Zach responded really well cause I didn’t see him get taken out mentally of his game. He’s obviously our leader. I thought for the challenge he had, he did really well,” said Holt.
Next up for Hunsaker and the Tigers will be Skyline in the quarterfinals. It should be a great test for Hunsaker defensively.