Custer would no doubt like the Murray Spartans.

Powered by a balanced attack, the Region 6 champions earned a trip to the 4A finals by outlasting Mountain Crest 51-47 in the state semifinals Thursday."Jeff Johnsen is the star, but he is surrounded by a bunch of generals," said Murray coach Gordon Kener. "We have different leaders step up. I'll tell you what, this team is full of leaders."

Johnsen did his part - scoring a game-high 20 points and grabbing 14 rebounds - but several of his teammates also stepped to the forefront.

"When the pressure was on, I applied what we did in practice and drilled them," said David Hancy, who pulled down a pivotal rebound and made three free throws in the final 9.9 seconds.

Running mates Josh Lambourne and Jordan Greenwell also came up big down the stetch. Lambourne, who gave Murray the lead for good with a basket in the second quarter, finished with 13 points - adding three points in the last six minutes. Meanwhile, Greenwell iced the game with two free throws as Murray's 49-47 lead swelled to four points with 2.8 seconds to play.

"I thought we controlled the tempo," said Kener. "And I thought we were real fortunate that a lot of Mountain Crest shots weren't falling like they normally do."

His coaching counterpart agreed.

"We had enough chances to win it," said Mountain Crest coach John Nielsen. "We kept battling, but we didn't play as well as we needed to."

Dan Conger led the Mustangs with 14 points, which included 12 in the fourth quarter.

"Too little, too late," lamented Nielsen. "It was a close game. (Murray) has a great team. They deserve to be in the championship."

Though Mountain Crest never led after Lambourne's shot with 3:42 to play in the first half erased a 20-19 lead, the Mustangs never trailed by more than seven the rest of the way. In fact, an old-fashioned three-point play by Jeff Crosbie closed the gap to 46-45 with just 1:47 remaining.

However, the Spartans, who overcame a paltry 12 of 24 performance from the free throw line, countered from all directions in the closing seconds to claim their 18th straight win and earn a trip to the finals.

"My expectations are high and theirs are high," said Kener. "Our goal is becoming more realistic."

Murray will be seeking its first crown since 1931.

In consolation play:

East 70, Timpview 62

Josh Gardner scored 23 points to lead the Leopards past the Thunderbirds. The setback elimnates Timpview, once considered the team to beat, from the tournament. Nate Cooper had 19 for the T-Birds.

Ogden 52, Box Elder 51

Adam Van Dyke's free throw with less than two seconds remaining in overtime lifted the Tigers to an ouster of the Bees. Brent Moore of Ogden led all scorers with 18 points. Casey Blacker had 16 for Box Elder.

Spanish Fork 55, Sky View

Kris Jex scored 17 points to lead the Dons past the defending champion Bobcats. Kenny Clark had 10 for Sky View.

Tooele 66, Woods Cross 59

Scott Pratt's 22 points helped the Buffaloes eliminate the Wildcats. Wade Nielsen of Woods Cross shared game-high scoring honors with 22.