OGDEN — Led by Brock Miller's 30 points, Brighton had enough to hold off a tough Hunter team 65-56 in the 5A state quarterfinals on Wednesday at the Dee Events Center.
The Bengal senior lit up the scoring column, hitting from midrange, behind the arc and from the foul line where he converted on 10-of-14 attempts. He was particularly good during the third quarter, when the Bengals opened up a 45-35 lead after being tied at halftime 27-27.
Miller led off the third by scoring 10 straight points while taking on one of the toughest defensive assignments in the state; guarding Hunter star forward Noah Togiai.
“We wanted to give him a different look and I thought Brock did a heck of a job just making him earn baskets,” said Brighton coach Jeff Gardner. “He’s a great player, what can you say?”
Miller's always proved great in providing points, but according to Gardner, it's his ability to do everything else that has really benefitted the team in its run to the 5A state semifinal round.
“Brock has really developed into a very good all-around basketball player,” Gardner said. “He handles the ball, plays great defense, rebounds, obviously the scoring and making shots, but it’s an all-around game.”
As for Miller, he was hesitant to take any personal credit after the game.
“Honestly, I have to give credit to my team,” Miller said. “They were finding me in transition and in the open floor. It was a team effort and a team win, definitely, and we came out with our defense led to our offense. So it was a good win for us.”
As mentioned, the win didn't come easy. Despite playing from behind throughout the second half, the Wolverines wouldn't quit. Every time Brighton appeared poised to coast to victory, Hunter would make a little run to make things interesting.
"They hit some big shots, got some offensive rebounds and coach (Robb) Collins has really done a great job with that program,” Gardner said regarding Hunter's effort.
Playing particularly well for Hunter was Togiai, who finished with 27 points and nine rebounds.
But regardless of whatever Hunter threw at them, the Bengals had Miller and others who all contributed to the win. Players such as John Gremillion, who scored 14 points from the center spot, and Simi Fehoko, who finished with seven and alternated the assignment of guarding Togiai along with Miller.
“Our kids are confident, playing well, and we know we’re going to have a tough test on Friday,” Gardner said. “But I know they’re not going to come out nervous or afraid to falter.”
With the win, Brighton advances to the 5A state semifinals where it will take on Davis Friday at the Dee Events Center.