So far, the big story of this year's 4A Boys' Prep Basketball Tournament has been Davis and Goliath.
The saga continued Friday night at the Salt Palace as the Davis Darts, 10-10 on the regular season, downed the Provo Bulldogs, 48-44. The victory earned Davis a berth in tonight's championship tilt with Alta.So far, Davis has yet to play a team they were favored to beat. They knocked off Mountain View, a team which was ranked No. 1 at the beginning of region play and haunted the top five all season, 70-65 in the first round. They then stunned the tournament with a 59-53 triumph over Region Two champion Brighton on Wednesday night. The matchup with Provo, 12-8 on the season, was the closest thing to a tossup Davis has seen during the tournament.
"I would've given us (a better chance) at the start of the year than at the start of the tournament," Davis coach Jay Welk said about his team making it this far. "When you come into the tournament 10-10, you hope you can do well, but there were a lot of teams that expected to do much better than we did. But we hoped, and they expected, and we're there."
Provo, somewhat of a cinderella in its own right, had beaten Bonneville and East to gain the semifinal round. The Bulldogs offered Davis perhaps its toughest struggle yet. Provo grabbed an early 7-4 lead on a three-pointer by guard Tyler Jackson with 4:12 left in the first quarter. It held the lead until the end of the third quarter, stretching the lead to six with 6:05 remaining in the third. Davis failed to pull even until the waning seconds of the quarter when Ryan Halliday popped a trey from the right corner to tie the score at 28.
Davis' Travis Homer, who struggled in the first half, came out blazing for the Darts in the fourth period. His six points in the quarter included a 12-foot jumper that put Davis ahead to stay and two late free throws that helped cement the win. "He gave us some big baskets when we needed it," Welk said of his shooting guard.
After Homer's free throws made the score 44-40 with 1:09 left, Provo pulled within two points one last time when David Liddiard hit a 10-foot jumper from the right side. With Davis in control and 47 seconds left, Provo was forced to foul Davis every time down the floor, and the Darts' Tyler Heath sank both ends of a one-and-one to increase the margin to 46-42.
Despite being a low-scoring contest, the action was fast-paced. "We had a sluggish offensive night," Provo coach Craig Drury said, "but (Davis) had a lot to contribute to that; I have to give them a lot of credit."
A major factor was foul-shooting. Davis took 23 trips to the line, while Provo took just five. "It's hard to overcome that," Drury added. "It doesn't mean the officiating was good or bad, all it means is the way the game was called, they we're going to go the line and we weren't . . . Davis does a lot f pushing out front, and tonight that was OK."
Halliday led the Darts with 16, including four from the line, followed by Davis's giant-killer in the first two games, David Issacson (who scored 21 against Mountain View and 17 against Brighton), who had 10. For Provo, Liddiard led the way with 12.
Timpview 85, Skyline 72
In a game to determine who would compete for fifth and seventh place, Timpview used a balanced scoring attack and tough rebounding to defeat the Eagles of Skyline.
Five Thunderbird players were in double figures, led by forward Matt Butler with 16 and center Galen Anderson with 14. The T-Birds also outboarded the Eagles 44-27. The Eagles were also victimized by their own poor free-throw shooting, managing just 20 of 35 from the line.
The Eagles were down by as little as seven with just under four minutes left in the game, but Timpview's defense forced Skyline to take bad shots. Skyline star JaRon Boone also fouled out in the fading minutes of the game to diminish Skyline's chances for a comeback.
Timpview will face Brighton at 2 p.m. today to determine fifth and seventh place.
Brighton 63, East 49
The Brighton Bengals capitalized on 24 turnovers by the East Leopards, drubbing their Region Two rivals 63-49. The victory sent the Bengals into the game for fifth place honors.
Joey Haws dumped in 14 for the Bengals, while Alex Fisher added 11, including two three-pointers. East was led by Nate Gardner, who had 18.
Bingham 76, Mountain View 53
In a consolation bracket semifinal, the Bingham Miners blasted Mountain View in the second half to capture a berth in the consolation final.
Mountain View stayed close in the first half, going to the intermission down by a basket, 32-30. Bingham outscored them 23-11 in the third quarter, and finished the half with 44-23 margin over their Region Four opponent.
The Miners shot 51 percent from the field, and were led by Barry Fullmer, who had 21. Ryan Lewis paced Mountain View with 17. Bingham will now face Hillcrest for sixth place honors in 3:45 tilt today.
Hillcrest 52, American Fork 42
The Hillcrest Rams shut down American Fork in the second and third quarters to catapult them into the consolation bracket finals, 52-42.
American Fork managed only 10 points in the middle periods, and shot only 36.5 percent from the field.
Jason Williams led Hillcrest with 12, while Travis Stringham had 16 for the Cavemen.