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SCRAPPY BRIGHTON RELIES ON DEFENSE TO STOP ALTA

SHARE SCRAPPY BRIGHTON RELIES ON DEFENSE TO STOP ALTA

Seven years away from coaching prep basketball hasn't changed Jim Jimas much. He's still as intense as ever, whether it's during a game or 15 minutes after it's over.

His teams have always been a reflection of his intense nature and this year's Brighton team is no different. Tuesday night at Alta, the scrappy Bengals knocked off the defending state champion Hawks 62-52 at Alta.The victory vaulted the Bengals into second place in the evenly-balanced Region 2 race at 3-2. Except for a one-point loss to East on a last-second shot last week, the Bengals would be all alone in first place.

That's a bit surprising considering that the Bengals don't have a player larger than 6-foot-4 Micah Johnson, who weighs in at just 175 pounds. The Bengals rely on defense and, of course, intensity.

"They've made their minds up that's the way they're going to win basketball games - defensively," said Jimas, who is in his first year back in coaching after a long successful career at Hillcrest. "We're pretty small, but these kids are willing to battle."

The Hawks were still playing without their 6-10 center Nick Proud, who has been out for six weeks with a knee injury. But they've played well enough to come into the game with an 8-4 record and a No. 5 ranking in the Deseret News top 5.

"That's a good team Ron (Carling) has," said Jimas. "We tried to mix up our defense a little and tried to shut down Wagner."

That's Taylor Wagner, who hit four 3-pointers on the night, but only one basket the last six minutes when Brighton pulled away for good.

The Bengals had broken away from a 17-17 tie late in the first half to lead 25-21 at halftime. Then they scored the first six points of the second half to go up 10.

The Hawks hung around and got within four at 53-49 with 3:30 left. They had the ball when Cale DeHart was called with a questionable offensive foul getting position inside.

The Bengals then scored on an inside move by Johnson, who led all scorers with 25 points on the night and never looked back.

Robbie Yates added 17 for the Bengals, while Wagner led the Hawks with 17.

Alta falls to 2-2 in league play in a tie for third with Skyline and Olympus. Friday night the Hawks play at Cottonwood, while Brighton plays host to Olympus.

Region 1

Viewmont 56, Bonneville 50

At Bonneville, the No. 1 ranked Vikings improved their undefeated record despite the Lakers' reign of 3-point land. Bonneville made 11 of 19 from beyond the stripe, including five by Dave Sivulich and 4 by Ryan Weber. The Vikings were led by Alex Jensen who scored 21 and Jared Peterson who scored 15. Sivulich grabbed top scoring honors for the Lakers with 22 points. Bonneville is now 3-3 in Region 1.

Layton 71, Roy 70

At Layton, the Lancers posted their first region win of the season as they staved off a late comeback try by the Royals. Blaine Smith and Alan Zenor led the attack for Layton, each scoring 17 points. Zenor also hit 4-4 free throws in the final minute to seal the victory. Freddy Dawson led the Royals with 18.

Davis 60, Clearfield 55, OT

Steve Howard scored a game-high 27 points, Ryan Halliday added 14 more including three 3-pointers, and Davis controlled the overtime period to claim sole possesion of second place behind Viewmont in Region 1. The Falcons' home-court loss was their second defeat in region play on the season. Jeff Sackolwitz led Clearfield with 15 points.

Region 2

East 45, Highland 40

The Rams were within moments of pulling off a big upset on their home floor, but it wasn't meant to be as East, led by Nate Gardner's 15 points, came back in the fourth quarter to improve their region record to 4-1. Highland still had a 2-point lead with less than two minutes to go, but a 5-second out-of-bounds call contributed to East's comeback. Highland is now 1-3 in region play.

Skyline 59, Cottonwood 45

At Cottonwood, the Colts matched the Eagles point-for-point in three of four quarters, but Skyline put together a 20-9 third quarter that sank the Colts' upset hopes. Eric Plant scored 17 for the Eagles, and Chris Bennion added 13 to the effort. Kevin Linkous led the Colts with 16 points. Skyline improves to 2-2 in the Region 2 standings, while the Colts fall to 1-3.

Region 3

Hunter 71, Granger 43

At Hunter, the Wolverines tore into the Lancers behind a solid first half performance that including three first-quarter 3-pointers by Tony Sweat en route to his 18-point performance. Brother Andrew joined in as well to finish the game with 11. The leading Lancer scorer was Troy Farnsworth who tossed in 16.

Hillcrest 60, Taylorsville 51

At Taylorsville, the Huskies remained undefeated by downing the second-place Warriors. The Huskies scored only one field goal in the fourth quarter but scored 15 from the line to hold off the Warriors. Hillcrest was led by Jason Oliver and David Fife who each scored 12 points. Greg Blake and Chad Coates led Taylorsville with 14 points apiece. Taylorsville is now 3-2 in Region 3.

Bingham 73, Kearns 59

Shad DeMill and Barry Fullmer scored 14 points each, and the Miners controlled the game from the outset to give Bingham a home-win over region for Kearns. Chad Lambourne had a game-high 19 points for the Cougars, but the Miners outscored Kearns 43-34 in the second half to ice the win.

Region 6

Bountiful 72, Granite 54

At Bountiful, David DeYoung shone once again for the Farmers, scoring a game-high 21 points, but the Braves put forth a good team effort to improve to 4-1 in the region and drop Granite to 0-5. The Braves were led by Mason Jacobs, who scored 17 points, and Curtis Billings, who added 15 more.

Tooele 56, West 48

At Tooele, the Buffaloes improved to 4-1 after a fourth quarter stampede left the Panthers in the dust. West led at the beginning of the fourth quarter before Tooele went on a 15-1 run and never looked back. West was led by Ben Gaddis who scored 17 and Marc Lawson paced the Buffaloes with 18. West fell to 1-4 with the loss.

Judge Memorial 64, Jordan 52

At Judge, the Bulldogs' Ben Melmeth scored 21 points and hauled in 16 boards in a contest which handed the Beetdiggers their first region loss of the season. Zack Pino contributed 18 points, including 8-8 free throw shooting, to the Bulldogs' cause in what Judge coach Jim Yerkovich characterized as a "really rough, physical game."

Murray 63, Woods Cross 60

At Woods Cross, the Spartans picked up their first region win of the season, led by T.C. Erkelens' 20 points and Scott Evans' 16. The big difference was the second quarter, when Murray outscored the Wildcats 17-10. Woods Cross had the ball in the waning seconds, only one point down, but wasted the opportunity to take the lead. Murray is now 1-4 in Region 6, Woods Cross 3-2.