OREM — Christian Covey's semifinal heroics carried over to Saturday's 4A championship game, and not necessarily in a good way.
Timpview was still buzzing from his game-winner against Highland the night before, and the result was an awful start in which the T-Birds missed 10 of their first 11 shots against Mountain Crest at the Dee Events Center.
"The emotion from last night's game was carrying over, and we had to get settled in," said Covey.
Once they did, it was lights out for the Mustangs.
After the rocky start, Timpview added to its lead every quarter and eventually ran away with a convincing 55-43 victory over Mountain Crest to claim its first basketball state championship since 2003.
"Everyone just talks about our football team, but our basketball team really wanted to win it this year and we knew we could because we're unselfish and we play as a team," said Covey.
As impressive as Timpview was offensively, defense was the catalyst just as it has been throughout the state tournament. It held Mountain Crest to just 39 percent shooting and limited leading scorer Matt Stewart to just seven points, 10 below his season average.
The way it shut down Stewart was particularly significant.
"(Ky) Raymond did a great job early, and then (Ryan) Sagers came in, they both took that challenge," said Timpview coach Perry Wildeboer. "We wanted them to be able to do it one-on-one so we didn't have to help. If he hurt them we were going to help, but we never had to through the game."
As a result, Mountain Crest's guards were usually facing contested shots and they struggled throughout the game.
Down eight at the half, Mountain Crest kept it close throughout the third quarter and still only trailed 39-31 with 5:36 remaining in the game following a Stewart layup. Over the next three minutes, however, the T-Birds put the game away with a 11-2 run in which five different players scored.
Timpview was led by Eli Robison's 16 points, while Josh Warner chipped in with 10. Friday night's semifinal hero had an impressive stat line in his own right as Covey finished with nine points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Looking back on it, losing to Provo on Feb. 19 was the best thing that could've happened to Timpview's basketball team. It dropped the T-Birds to a third seed in the Region 7 standings, and they went into the state tournament with a chip on their shoulders.
"After we lost to Provo, barely lost, we felt really bad because we should've won. Right there we were really motivated," said Covey.
The loss forced Timpview to open the playoffs with a play-in game at home against Logan, followed by a second-round game Tuesday in St. George. All the extra hours on the bus didn't seem to bother Wildeboer's team one bit once they got to the Dee Events Center.
Timpview held its opponents to less than 50 points in the final six games of the season, including all three games in Ogden.
"The really clamped down defensively," said Wildeboer.
Offensively, Timpview shot 46 percent from the field but a very impressive 63 percent after halftime. On a team with three junior starters, and another junior key contributor, the T-Birds are already the team to beat in the 2011 state tournament.
4A ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
MVP — Eli Robison, Timpview
Christian Covey, Timpview
Kyle Collinsworth, Provo
Sam Orchard, Highland
Matt Stewart, Mountain Crest
Tyler Weese, Mountain Crest