With roughly two minutes and thirty seconds left in the game, Logan head coach Logan Brown went to the bench for his reserves, switching out all five players on the court, signifying a hard-earned victory.
The Grizzlies (4-8) relied heavily on their defense to secure a 60-44 victory against visitors Ben Lomond (3-8) Friday night at Grizzly Den.
“I thought our defense was the standard for most of the game. When we played well it was because of our defense,” Brown said.
At halftime, the score was 25-16 and it felt as if the game was still very much up for grabs. Some early foul trouble sidelined a few crucial Logan players, Ethan Davis and Jadin Penigar namely, but the bench did well to respond. Oliver Hashimoto came into the game and brought his usual burst of energy and passion, contributing with five points and some key passes. Isaac Tuft, who hit four three-point shots in the first half carried Logan offensively through two quarters, but cooled down as the half drew to a close.
But this early surge would ultimately be enough to get the Grizzlies across the finish line on top.
“I thought our guys did a good job responding when we were in foul trouble. We had some guys step up and play really well,” Brown said. “I thought our bench was huge tonight. Isaac Tuft coming out and doing what he did at the beginning was big as far as giving us confidence offensively.”
The second half is when the game became different. A sea of options were simultaneously opened and constricted for Ben Lomond as Logan turned to a full-court press. Breaking that press didn’t come easy, and as the game grew longer, the energy and intensity of Logan became too much for the Scots to overcome. While for a moment in the third quarter Ben Lomond started to find a few passes through, that success was brief and players like Isaac Larsen led the line of hard-fighting Grizzlies.
“You know, our press can be very effective when we run it right and we are all about getting back on defense, so we just gotta keep playing with energy because our energy and our defense leads to offense,” Larsen said.
The sophomore finished the game with nine points, but was much more instrumental distributing the ball and stifling opportunities for the Scots with his aggression and intuition. It should come as no surprise that Larsen, a defensive back commit to Utah State, enjoys digging in and fighting for loose balls, leading the press and getting a hand in on an opposition player for a steal. But the playmaking guard enjoys the offensive side of the game just as much.
“Honestly, I just like to find guys and let them score,” Larsen said. “I like to play defense, I like to get steals, but my favorite thing is driving to the basket and finding guys.”
Some of the beneficiaries of Larsen’s unselfish play were Penigar and Tuft, the latter finished with 14 points and the former with 15 — most of which came in the fourth quarter as the Grizzlies pulled away. The more the Grizzlies pressed, the more it wore down Ben Lomond, leading to errors in passing and overall decision making. On the flip side, Logan found space under the basket — something that had been missing the majority of the game — and Penigar exploited the holes and found a clean path to the basket on more than one occasion.
Overall, the Grizzlies didn’t attempt many shots (36), but shot a very efficient 58.3 percent from the field.
While Larsen led the team in energy and Penigar in points, the standout performance might have to go to guard Hayden Woolley, according to Logan’s head coach.
“Really I think it comes down to how we played defensively,” Brown said. “Hayden Woolley shut down their best player and only allowed him to have two points. So those types of performances are what we have to build on and get ready for region play.”
Next up for the Grizzlies, the commencement of Region 11 play and a meeting with Mountain Crest on Friday, Jan. 10. The chance to prove themselves in region play is something Brown and the Grizzlies very much look forward to.
“I think it’s going to be a dog fight,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of unknowns from a lot of teams because we just don’t know a lot of the personnel. Sky View is far and above probably everybody, but I think it’s a good challenge for all of us to be ready to go.”
OTHER FRIDAY GAMES
It was a good night for Preston and Sky View, while Ridgeline was edged at home by a 8-3 Westlake squad.
Ty Hyde matched his career high with 30 points as Preston crushed district rival Twin Falls at home, 75-52. The Indians (9-1), who outscored the Bruins 28-8 in the second quarter, led by 31 points in the fourth quarter.
Hyde went 8 of 13 from the field and 14 of 16 from the free throw line as he dominated the Bruins down low. Scott Dunn buried five 3-pointers en route to scoring 15 points for Preston, while Gabe Hammons netted 14 points off the bench.
“The first quarter (Twin Falls) came out and they’re a physical team, they’re aggressive and we kind of let them back into it there late in the first quarter, but second quarter I thought our defense stepped up and we were able to get some baskets in transition,” PHS head coach Tyler Jones said on a radio interview with mylocalradio. “And we were kind of able to get Ty going, which was big tonight.”
Sky View exploded for 27 points in the second quarter to take the lead for good in a 67-56 triumph over Madison (Idaho) on the road. The Bobcats trailed 13-9 after the first quarter, but led 36-31 at the break.
Mason Falslev scored 14 of SV’s 27 points in the second quarter and finished with a game-high 29. Sam Phipps netted 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter for the Bobcats (8-2).
“Kids picked up where we left off defensively before the break,” SV head coach Kirk Hillyard said. “Kids shared the ball and made each other better. Sam and Mason scored a lot of baskets, but their teammates did a great job of setting them up with some great assists.”
Ridgeline was in good shape to extend its winning streak to eight as it jumped out to a 24-14 halftime lead. However, the Thunder rallied in the second half and knocked down a free throw with 3.7 seconds remaining to steal a 41-40 win.
The Riverhawks got off an open shot at the buzzer, but it was off the mark. Jackson Baker paced Ridgeline (7-5) with 11 points, while Kaden Cox chipped in with 10.
“Tonight against a really good 6A Westlake team we battled like crazy on both ends,” RHS head coach Kyle Day said. “It was a really tight defensive battle all night. Ultimately, down the stretch they made one more play than we did. ... Glad to be done with a really tough preseason (schedule) that has really helped prepare us for region.”
Mountain Crest was within striking distance of Hunter for much of its road game, but the Wolverines pulled away in the fourth quarter and prevailed, 61-48.
Marshall Nethercott accumulated a team-high 17 points for the Mustangs, who only trailed 44-39 heading into the fourth quarter. Caleb Archibald and Mason Baldwin chipped in with nine points each.
Green Canyon is currently competing at the Burley Tournament and lost a pair of hard-fought games against strong Idaho programs. The Wolves lost Thursday to 5A power Rigby, 76-68, and was edged by host Burley, 64-60, Friday.
Rigby outscored Green Canyon 27-17 in the third quarter to put the Wolves in a 12-point hole. McKay Yorgason led Green Canyon with 20 points, Caleb Robison chipped in with 11, and Carter Maughan and Cade DeBoard added nine apiece.
Maughan had a open 3-pointer rattle out with two seconds remaining in the fourth quarter that would have lifted Green Canyon past Burley. DeBoard and Yorgason both finished with 10 points for the Wolves (6-6), who got 11 points from Brady Smith and a combined 17 points from Maughan and Cole Deboard.
West Side extended its winning streak to four and completed the season sweep of Grace. The Pirates exploded for 26 points in the first quarter, took a 42-21 lead into halftime and never looked back in a 79-64 road victory.
Blaize Brown knocked down 15 of 17 free throws en route to a team-high 22 points for the Pirates (5-2). Ryan Beckstead and Isaac Frankman added 17 points apiece for West Side, which went 28 of 34 from the charity stripe.
“I was pleased with the win and our ability to shoot the ball in this game,” WS head coach Tyler Brown said. “... I was unhappy with our second half defense. We gave up 43 points. Have to give Grace credit. They didn’t quit and kept fighting till the end.”
HJ sports writer Jason Turner contributed to this report