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High school basketball: Kanab overpowers North Summit in fourth quarter to advance to 2A semis

RICHFIELD – On two separate occasions, Kanab got burned by a last-second buzzer beating shot from North Summit. The Braves scored layups to sneak into the locker room with a halftime lead and again to tie things up at the end of the third quarter.

The Cowboys were determined not to let that trend continue in the fourth quarter.

"We just came in with the mindset that we weren't going to get behind," Kanab guard Payton Jesus said. "We were just going to keep it up. We were just going to attack them and go win the game.

Kanab averted experiencing any last minute drama after outscoring North Summit 36-17 over the game's final 10 minutes and the Cowboys cruised to a 77-65 quarterfinal victory in the 2A boys basketball tournament at the Sevier Valley Center on Thursday afternoon.

Trailing 48-41 after Braves guard Keegan McQueen stole the ball and took it in for a layup with 2:49 left in the third quarter, Kanab scored nine straight points – capped off with a layup from Craig Brinkerhoff – to take a 50-48 lead.

North Summit briefly went back ahead 52-50 when Dallin Judd scored a layup as time expired in the third quarter and made another basket to open the fourth quarter. But then Rhees Jackson scored a layup and a 3-pointer to put the Cowboys back up 57-52 with 6:00 left in the game.

From there, Jackson, Brinkerhoff and Jesus took turns knocking down shots to push Kanab's lead to 75-60 with 1:09 remaining and effectively put the game out of reach.

It marked the second straight playoff game where Kanab (15-6) mounted a successful second-half comeback.

"Every game – at least in the state playoffs – we've tried to own the fourth quarter and I think we've done a pretty good job of that," Jackson said. "The games are always kind of close when we're going into the fourth quarter and we just turn it on and pull away."

After a relatively quiet first quarter for both teams, things quickly turned fast-paced during the second quarter.

Jesus, Brinkerhoff and Kade Quarnberg each drained a 3-pointer to push the Cowboys out to a 23-19 lead. North Summit rallied and tied it at 31-31 after scoring baskets on four straight possessions. Colton Tholen contributed three of those baskets and his layup attempt before the halftime buzzer – which counted after a goaltending call on Kanab – put the Braves ahead 33-32.

Even though North Summit eventually extended that lead to seven in the third quarter, the team's willingness to keep playing at a frenetic pace ultimately cost them as the Cowboys scored many baskets in their end-of-game rally on fast breaks.

"That's kind of our key," Jackson said. "Once we start running up and down the courts, baskets start falling and things just start happening for us."

Jackson finished with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting to lead all scorers and also collected 10 rebounds. Jesus added 19 points and Brinkerhoff chipped in 18 for the Cowboys, who will now face Waterford in the semifinal round.

Judd led North Summit with 16 points. Cameron Bowen added 14 and Tholen finished with 13 points for the Braves.