It may have been a tale of two halves, and that is just fine with Sky View.
The Bobcats jumped on fifth-seeded Crimson Cliffs in the first two quarters. They made 14 of 16 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal a 57-42 victory in the first semifinal of the 4A Boys Basketball State Tournament Friday evening at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on the campus of Utah State.
“It was a tale of two halves; we know that teams are not going to go away,” SV head coach Kirk Hillyard said. “You can get a big lead and for the most part they are going to climb their way back in. We have had some of those games this season and learned from it. It’s a four quarters game, you have to keep playing. The boys did a good job tonight making some plays.”
The Bobcats (22-2) reached the semifinals last year, but did not make the title game, falling by two points to Snow Canyon, who was the eventual 4A champion in 2022. There was no heartache Friday.
“We just need to come in tomorrow with the same mentality,” Bobcat Tanner Davis said. “We take every team like it’s the state championship almost. We will come in and be ready.”
The Bobcats will be playing for a state title Saturday.
Sky View will face Dixie for the state championship. The second-seeded Flyers beat sixth-seeded Layton Christian Academy in the second semifinal Friday night, 62-41. This will be the second straight trip to the championship game for Dixie, who lost to Snow Canyon last year, 50-41.
The title game will be at the Spectrum and tip off at 5:30 p.m.
“We are happy to be there,” Hillyard said. “There are only two teams left that get to play tomorrow and only one gets to end their season on a win. I think these kids realize that and value that.”
The top-seeded Bobcats raced out to a 12-0 lead four minutes into the game against the Mustangs (16-8). Four different Sky View players scored during the quick start. Hayden Howell got it started with a 3-pointer.
“We executed really well offensively to start the game,” Hillyard said. “We got some easy buckets and got going.”
Logan Deal had eight points in the opening quarter as the Bobcats took a 16-6 lead into the second period.
Crimson Cliffs got within 17-10 early in the second, but then Deal went to work. The senior had six points during a 13-0 run.The Mustangs did not score for a stretch of five minutes. The Bobcat students chanted “Up by 20” as Sky View took a 30-10 lead just before halftime.
Deal scored again before the break to give Sky View a 32-14 lead going into the locker rooms. Deal had 16 points in the first half.
“Logan is just so smart,” Hillyard said. “He knows how to work his way around size and finish. He did a really good job. … Logan has worked so hard on his game.”
After such a good first 16 minutes, the third was not so pretty for the Bobcats. It took them nine possessions to score and then it was just one free throw. I’m just so proud of him for the effort he makes. He has the heart of a champion, the heart of a lion. He will do whatever it takes to win.”
“We came out and punched them from the start,” Davis said. “I feel like that set the tone for the rest of the game. But they (Mustangs) came out and threw a punch in the second half. But we weathered the storm and fought back.”
However, it took Crimson Cliffs seven possessions to score. The Mustangs did string together six straight points and kept fighting back.
Sky View took a 39-28 lead into the fourth quarter.
“They (Mustangs) were super aggressive and got going a little bit,” Hillyard said. “We kept (Jordan) Eaton and (Phoenix) McWillis in check from three. They got a few baskets and made a little run, but we made enough plays down the stretch.”
Eaton and McWillis were a combined 0 of 7 from 3-point range for the game. Both teams made a trio of long-range bombs in the game.
The Mustangs got within eight points four different times, but could get no closer.
The Bobcats finished off the win by scoring the final nine points of the game, all from the foul line. Sky View went 9 of 10 over the final 57 seconds. For the game, the Bobcats were 22 of 31.
“I made that many?” asked Davis, who made all six of his foul shots in the final minute and was 12 of 15 from the line for the game. “I shot 15 free throws? Good night. I didn’t realize it was that many. … It felt like I wasn’t making enough in the first half, but I locked in and made those six in a row at the end when I felt like it counted.”
While Davis may have not known how many foul shots he made or attempted, his coach did.
“Tanner stepping up and going 12 for 15 from the line is pretty big,” Hillyard said.
Deal led the Bobcats with a game-best 20 points on 9 of 13 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. Davis netted 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds, dished out four assists and came up with four steals. Howell had nine points, while Brooks Rigby hauled in eight rebounds.
The Mustangs were led by Jordan Eaton with 15 points and seven rebounds. Houston Johnsen finished with a game-high nine boards.
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