Magna, Utah – The Cyprus high school boys’ basketball team overcame Southwest Airlines travel disruptions to make it to the tournament in California in time for information.
Cyprus Basketball arrived in Laverne, Calif. just two hours before tipoff against Rolling Hills Prep at the Damian Classic. It was a trip from Salt Lake City to Laverne, CA that brought five coaches and his 15 players.
Cyprus head coach and former Utah Running Youth guard Tre Smith explained his entire journey to KSL Sports.
“I was shocked at how well they did [his players] We’ve dealt with it,” Smith said. “As a team, they handled it really well. Obviously nobody wanted to hang out at the airport. .”
— Cyprus Hoops (@CyprusHoops) December 27, 2022
Cyprus Basketball Team’s Timeline to Arrive in California
The team had a flight from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas on Monday, December 26th. The Pirates made that flight, but it was still delayed because passengers had to disembark and board the flight again before it could take off. When the plane landed in Las Vegas, Cyprus was cutting a connecting flight to Long Beach, and the layover took about 20 minutes.
The team rushed to the next gate, but there was a long line and no information on the current status of the flight to Long Beach. , or was talking to passengers waiting in a long line to see what was going on. said to him.
With no information provided at the gate by Southwest Airlines, passengers realized there was no pilot or flight attendant on the Long Beach flight and had to wait for both to arrive before boarding. The team waited at the gate from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. before Smith and his coach began considering Plan B.
Coach Smith has decided to cancel the current flight and reschedule to Long Beach on Tuesday morning at 8am Pacific time. They considered renting a car to drive, but all the car rental services at the Las Vegas airport did not have vehicles available unless they had a reservation. So the team booked a circus hotel room for him.
Cyprus showed up on their flight on Tuesday morning only to find that the flight had been cancelled. He booked his four SUVs through an offsite car rental company in Las Vegas.
Even with that plan in place, the team still had to overcome their biggest challenge. It was to retrieve his seven bags that he had checked before his flight to Las Vegas. Inside that bag were important items needed for the coaching staff and players’ uniforms.
“There was no way I was leaving Las Vegas without my bag,” said Smith.
Then what Coach Smith considered “the greatest blessing” was that a gentleman who worked in the Southwest was talking to one of the assistant coaches and was going to find his bag so he could start driving to West Covina. I didn’t mind.
After two hours of searching for the seven bags, Southwest employees discovered that the area had four bags destined for Long Beach and three destined for LAX.
It took the Pirates three and a half hours to drive to their tournament destination. They arrived at 3:00 PM PT for a game that was scheduled to start at 5:00 PM PT.
Travel fatigue floored the Pirates in the first half against Rolling Hills Prep, trailing 17-15, but they hit another gear by outscoring the Huskies 13-9 in the third quarter. The game went to extra time and Cyprus outplayed Rolling Hills his prep with his 8-3 to win 42-37. Pirates star guard Quentin Meza led the way with his 19 points.
Cyprus will play Valencia on Wednesday, December 28 at 5:00 PM PT. American Folk, Lorne He’s Peak, and Skyridge are also participating in the Damian Classic. Lone Peak is in the diamond bracket with Cyprus.
Cyprus wasn’t the only school to have problems getting into tournaments in the Southwest and California. I had to.
After 48 hours of chaos and finally arriving in California, Coach Smith was asked what he had learned from the experience.
“It’s always bad for other people,” said Smith. “I have spoken to people who have been at the airport since Christmas and cannot get out until Saturday. I’ve found a way to add in. You don’t have to feel like a victim.”
All Cyprus boys and girls basketball home games can be streamed on KSLSports.com.