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Juan Diego rallies, gets past Tooele

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DRAPER — Of the game-high 16 points that Mason Moore scored in Juan Diego's 56-52 win over Tooele, none were more important than the last two.

With the Soaring Eagle clinging to a two-point lead in the game's final seconds, the senior point guard's pair of free throws extended the advantage to four, effectively putting the game out of the considerable reach of the Buffaloes' talented perimeter shooters.

"There isn't anyone I would have rather had taking those shots for us,"

said Juan Diego coach Sonny Tangaro. "I have all the confidence in the world in Mason. He's money from the line."

As impressive as they were, Moore's late game heroics were little more than the exclamation point on one of the greatest comebacks in the admittedly short history of Juan Diego basketball.

The Soaring Eagle started the first quarter looking like they had just woken up from a nap, and proceeded to let Tooele score virtually at will for the game's first eight minutes. By the time Juan Diego began playing with any intensity, the Buffaloes were up 16-4.

"I think a lot of our slow start was because of Tooele," said Moore. "They're a great team, they put together a great game plan, and they came out with more intensity than we did."

Although the Moore and company spent most of the second quarter chipping away at the Buffaloes' lead, they were still down by seven at the half.

Following another Tooele scoring spree at the beginning of the third period, the Soaring Eagle once again found itself down by double figures and looked to be dead in the water.

Fortunately for the Juan Diego faithful, the Buffaloes made like their namesake and disappeared for the second half of the third quarter, giving the Soaring Eagle just the opportunity that they needed to get back into the game.

"We had some guys that really stepped up for us in the second half," said Moore. Shooting guard Devin Thomas, who contributed 11 points on the night, not only led the charge in the third quarter, but also made the shot that gave Juan Diego its first advantage of the game at the beginning of the fourth. In a span of just over four minutes, Tooele had conceded both the lead and the momentum, but they refused to give up. Point guard Josh Johnson, whose 16 points were tops for the Buffaloes, kept the game close with his outside shooting. Were it not for him, Moore's heroics would have been unnecessary. "The first playoff win is always the hardest," said Tangaro. "Tooele is a great team, and I knew that they weren't going to make it easy for us."

E-mail: tquinn@desnews.com