Mountain View boys basketball coach Rob Cuff knew Scott Henry would need to be extra pumped for his team to upend second-ranked Davis in their 5A quarterfinal matchup.
With that in mind, he gave his only senior starter a personal challenge. Cuff challenged Henry to rise to the postseason occasion - and specifically to outplay Davis center Ted Hollist - before Monday's game at the Huntsman Center.Judging by the Bruins' 81-69 victory over the Darts, you can bet Henry will be getting another challenge before Wednesday's semifinal game against Region 3 rival Brighton.
Despite some nagging foul problems, Henry scored a game-high 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field and 7 for 7 at the free-throw line. He also grabbed seven rebounds.
"Coach told me if I was a better player I should prove it," said Henry, "and that's what I did. I play better against better players."
Henry, who's a lanky 6-foot-7 center, was downright dominating in the first half when Mountain View seized control of the game's tempo and lead. He cut through Davis' low-post defense for 18 points before halftime, and most of his baskets were easy layups.
"Scott showed he's one of the best players in the state - both offensively and defensively," said Cuff. "I just can't say enough about Scott Henry tonight. It was a gut check and he came in mentally prepared."
As did the rest of the Bruins, who were sharp from the get-go. They ran out to an early 8-2 lead on two layups by Henry sandwiched around a basket by his younger brother, Tim, a junior.
Scott said the Bruins wanted to open the game strongly so they wouldn't need another comeback as they did in the first round against Hunter. The Wolverines led by nine before Mountain View stormed back for the 55-43 win last Friday.
"We started off slow in the Hunter game, and we decided not to start off slow in this game," he said. "This could be our best game of the year. We played well both offensively and defensively."
Davis pulled within three in the second quarter, but the Bruins stretched the margin to nine, 33-24, on yet another layup by Scott in the closing minute of the half.
Hollist, who finished with 19 points, scored nine in the opening half, but it was on three-of-nine shooting. He wasn't the only stray Dart, though. Davis hit just nine of 26 shots (34.6 percent) against the aggressive Bruins in the first two quarters.
For the most part, the Bruins were too close to miss. They made 51.7 percent (15-for-29) of their attempts in the first half.
"Mountain View, they attacked the basket," said Davis coach Jay Welk. "I don't think we stopped them the whole game."
Mountain View's shooting percentage didn't dip much in the second half. Of course, that was mostly because the Bruins didn't have a chance to miss from the field. They took only 12 shots, making six, after halftime.
Mountain View, which had two free throws in the opening half, was sent to the charity stripe 43 times in the third and fourth quarters as Davis tried to rally. The Bruins ended up drilling 36 of 45 (80 percent) from the line, including their final 13.
"Aaron Pinegar even hit one," Scott said tongue-in-cheek while joking with his backup, who made 1 of 4.
Davis trailed by only four points, 51-47, going into the fourth quarter, but the Bruins went on a 9-3 spurt to pull away. The Henry brothers teamed for a highlight-reel play during the run as Tim caught an intended alley-oop pass and, before coming down, dished the ball across the lane to give Scott an easy layup.
Bruin guard Jeff Gardner was big for the Bruins down the stretch. He hit a key 3-pointer and scored 10 fourth-quarter points to help Mountain View pull away.
Mountain View is the only school to have made it to the quarterfinals each year since Class 5A was created in 1993-94. However, this will be the Bruins' (16-6) first trip to the semifinals since they finished third in 1995. They split with Brighton during the regular season.
LAYTON 59, SKYLINE 54: Minutes before tip-off, some of the Skyline fans chanted "Overrated" at No. 1-ranked Layton.
It remains to be seen if the Lancers really are overrated, but they are still alive in the chase for a title. And, thanks to Layton's 59-54 victory, the Eagles aren't.
In the waning seconds of the game, the Layton student body, not to be outdone by the much smaller Skyline crowd, loudly reminded the Eagles of their imminent fall from contention with a rebuttal chant of "Consolation."
With the win, Layton (19-3) moves on to Wednesday's semis to play Orem at 6:30 p.m. Skyline (14-8) will face West Jordan in the - start chanting - consolation bracket at 2:30 p.m..
That scenario certainly wouldn't be the case had Layton's bench not come prepared to play.
Starting point guard Andre Brown fired in 14 points, but the only other Lancers in double digits were reserves Gabe Smith and Brady Drake, who each scored 10.
That compensated for below-par outings by forward Matt Mark and guard Chet Neilson. Mark and Neilson have been Layton's go-to guys all season, but they struggled to a combined 14 points on 6-of-17 shooting.
Layton still handled the team that was the preseason favorite and ranked No. 1 up until two months ago.
"We're a team that's 10 deep," said Layton coach Scott Applegate. "That's our strength."
Drake, a junior, gave Layton a huge lift in the third quarter when he replaced an unusually ineffective Neilson. The junior guard came off the bench to score seven points in the third quarter, helping Layton regain a lead after Skyline had tied the game.
"It was just time for him to come in," Applegate said. "We were struggling."
It was a sweet moment for Drake, who was a starter as a sophomore last year. He lost his starting job over the summer when he was diagnosed with what was originally thought to be a tumor in his left leg. Doctors operated and discovered they had misdiagnosed. The lump turned out to be ripped muscle tissue.
Drake wasn't cleared to play basketball until the week of tryouts, and he has had an up-and-down season trying to find a niche on the team ever since. His fresh legs came in awfully handy for the Lancers on Monday, though.
"I was ready. I've been waiting for this ever since Timpanogos," said Drake, recalling last season's disappointing first-round playoff loss. "I was wondering if I'd play. I thought my role was to get them ready in practice. You always daydream as a kid to get in like this."
Brandon Anderson kept Skyline in the game with 27 points and seven boards.
BRIGHTON 65, TIMPANOGOS 51: Another playoff game, another sophomore steps up for the Bengals.
Garner Meads, who was recently taken out of the starting lineup to be Brighton's sixth man, lit up the Timberwolves. The 6-8 soph went 9 for 13 from the field for 21 points and hauled in 13 rebounds to boost the Bengals to the quarterfinal win.
Meads' classmate, Jesse Pinegar, also had a nice game for Brighton in totaling 12 points and seven boards. Senior Bryan Ottley scored 10 points with a couple of big threes. Brighton sophomore Lawrence Cowan, who had 18 points in the first round win over Cottonwood, was limited to six points.
Timpanogos' starting sophomore, point guard Golden Ingle, had a rough go against Brighton guards Denny Crockett and Reno Mahe. Ingle hit only three of his 16 shots for a team-high 14 points.
Brighton (12-10) and Mountain View will play at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, while Timpanogos (10-12) takes on Davis earlier in the consolation round at 4:10 p.m.
OREM 73, WEST JORDAN 63: Orem's Spencer Abney has already signed a letter of intent to play football for BYU's LaVell Edwards. Coach Steve Cleveland might be wise to nab the tight end for the hoops team as well.
Abney, a 6-5 center, scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Tigers to the semifinals. He made 12 of 15 shots, including two 3-pointers.
"Spencer just dominated the first half," said Orem coach Matt Logan. "He's the reason we went to the locker room ahead."
Abney's strong play keyed Orem's decisive run in which the Tigers scored 17 straight points in a stretch in the second and third quarters. West Jordan led 28-24 before Orem went on its tear.
Shawn Opunui added 18 points with six assists and Joel Clark chipped in 17 points for the Tigers (16-6).
Cheyenne Rushton netted 18 points to lead the Jaguars (13-9), and Nathan Seim and Rick Benson scored 16 and 14, respectively.