OGDEN — The Box Elder Bees jumped into the semifinals of the state 4A playoffs behind the play of a couple of leapers.
Guard Jared Quayle, an impressive jumper, poured in 18 points and forward Robert Steed's inside defense paced the Bees past American Fork Wednesday night 46-42 in a low-scoring contest. Quayle also pulled down 11 rebounds.
"Two good defensive teams showed up to play tonight," Box Elder coach Keith Mecham said.
The Bees held the Cavemen to 20 percent shooting in the first half and 35 percent for the game. American Fork's first four baskets were 3-pointers and they didn't make a 2-point hoop until midway through the second.
"We had hands up on all their other shots," Mecham said.
Still, the game was close and tied three times in the first half. Despite horrible shooting and only scoring 23 points through three quarters, American Fork was within four to open the fourth quarter and cut the lead to three with four minutes left in the contest. But that's when Box Elder went on a 6-0 run, which normally isn't much but was in this defensive battle.
The Cavemen couldn't close the gap any closer than five, until Kyle Fillmore hit a long 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"Down the stretch we made all the hustle plays," Mecham said.
Two areas that American Fork will notice when analyzing the loss are foul shots missed and fouls committed. The Cavemen converted only seven of 18 free throws, while committing 24 fouls to Box Elder's 13, sending the Bees to the line 31 times.
Box Elder didn't exactly light things up either, shooting only 38 percent from the field. Mecham says the Bees must play much better when they face Orem Friday night in the semis.
"We're going to have to play better than this," he said.
Bo Fowler topped American Fork with 12 points and Fillmore had 10.