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High school boys basketball: Matt Norman's big game leads Timpanogos past East

Timpanogos, the other 5A juggernaut, reminded everyone Wednesday night at the University of Utah that this year’s state tournament isn’t just one-horse race.

Led by Matt Norman, who torched the nets for 34 points and eight 3-pointers, Timpanogos dominated East in the second half to pull away for the impressive 76-57 victory.

The game was close for a half, but the T-Wolves set the pace with a dominant second half at both ends of the court.

“I think we play with a lot of heart. A lot of games we want to turn it into an all-out war of who has the most heart and guts, and we feel like that’s one thing that gives us an advantage, we’ve got that. Our guys who are better at being tired than anyone else, we try to get people tired and then we start playing,” said Timpanogos coach Izzy Ingle.

Timpanogos shot 60 percent in the second half as it turned a five-point halftime lead into a 20-point cushion late in the game.

With the win, Timpanogos advances to Friday’s 5A quarterfinals and will face Corner Canyon at 2:30 p.m.

The T-Wolves pride themselves on sharing the basketball and getting everybody involved, and then letting the game dictate how to spread the ball around. On Wednesday, that meant getting the basketball to Norman.

He made three 3-pointers in the first half and then five more in the second half as he found the holes in East’s zone defense.

“They were just sitting in the zone and Derik Eaquinto, he’s really great at getting me the ball,” said Norman.

The junior hit four 3-pointers in the third quarter as Timpanogos stretched its lead to 61-49 by the end of the quarter. The T-wolves finished with 13 3-pointers, and each one in the second half seemed to take more air out of East’s sails.

“Everybody in the state knows that Matt Norman can really, really shoot. He just solidified that tonight,” said Ingle.

Norman hit eight 3-pointers and finished with 30 points in a game against Springville just a couple weeks ago as well.

East’s Taylor Zwick actually had the hottest hand early in the game as he buried four 3-pointers in the first quarter. Despite his clutch shooting, East only led 22-21 after the first quarter as Riley Curtis and Eaquinto hit back-to-back 3-pointers to close the quarter for the T-wolves.

Zwick hit two more 3s in the second quarter, but Norman also started to head up in the second quarter as he hit two 3-pointers to give Timpanogos the 39-34 halftime lead.

At halftime, Ingle said he circled Norman’s name on the whiteboard “37 times” to remind his players not to leave him open.

“We knew he could shoot, but we were reminded of it really quickly. At halftime we wanted an adjustment where he doesn’t touch it,” said Ingle.

Zwick finished with 24 points, but only two of those came after halftime.

As a team, East only shot 28 percent in the second half as Timpanogos’ defensive pressure forced it into a lot of tough shots.

Eaquinto finished with 10 assists and six points for Timpanogos, with Logan Walker adding 17 points and five assists.