Sanchez shines in loss for Copper Hills

Copper Hills’ Preston Sanchez gave basketball fans a glimpse of what lies ahead for the dynamic sophomore point guard on Thursday night at the Huntsman Center.

He scored 18 points and made 10-of-10 free throws as he nearly helped the Grizzlies orchestrate the stunning 5A quarterfinal upset of Davis.

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As the Darts mounted their comeback in the fourth quarter, Sanchez’s ball-handling and free throw shooting helped keep the favorites at bay until a buzzer-beater sent the game into overtime.

“He’s a real talent. He’ll be a fun kid to watch for the next two years,” said Davis coach Jay Welk. “He was really hard to control. He really made things go for them. That’s what a good point guard does, he gets shots for other guys, he makes everybody around him better.”

Sanchez averaged 14.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists this season, but his composure under pressure really stood out on Thursday. Whenever he had the ball in his hands, there was a calmness to Copper Hills’ offense. When the other guards had the ball, there was definitely some panic and anxiety.

“He’s hard to guard and stay in front. He’s a special player, and we’ve got a lot of special players on our roster coming back,” said Copper Hills coach Andrew Blanchard.

Sanchez was particularly clutch at the line. He made a pair of free throws with 1:23 and then 0:30 remaining in the fourth quarter — each with Copper Hills leading by one.

He even opened overtime by making two free throws.

Sanchez, however, fouled out with 1:36 remaining in the game and couldn’t make any more dramatic plays to save Copper Hills season.

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