Avenging a 24-point loss is always nice, but doing it on senior night makes it that much sweeter.
That’s exactly what the Corner Canyon Chargers were able to accomplish Friday night, as they handed Region 4 foe Skyridge a 63-45 defeat as the home crowd celebrated the soon-to-be 2022 graduates.
The second half was the big story for the Chargers, who trailed by one point at halftime, but dominated the second half of play, holding the Falcons to just 15 second half points while scoring 34 of their own.
Corner Canyon head coach Dan Lunt said his team’s dominance over the final 16 minutes of the game simply came down to taking control of the paint on both sides of the ball.
“We talked at halftime about how we felt we had a huge advantage in the paint,” Lunt said. “We had only eight paint touches in the first half, but had 21 in the second half. Our focus was to attack the paint and make them guard us and the kids did that.”
On the other side of the floor, the Chargers kept the Falcons out of the paint and forced them to take lower-percentage shots.
Also helping their cause was the fact that the Chargers’ leading scorer, Max Toombs — who had only had two points at halftime — began to find his groove once again. Toombs scored 13 of his game-high 15 points in the second half to give Corner Canyon the boost it was searching for.
“He’s a hooper for sure,” senior Taylor Harris said of his junior teammate. “That guy can just flat-out score and he’s a leader for us. The sky’s the limit for that kid.”
Toombs was followed on the Corner Canyon score sheet by seniors Jaiden Feroah, Tyler Burraston and Jaxon Roberts, who finished with 13, 11 and 10, respectively. Feroah also chipped in a game-high 14 rebounds for the Chargers.
It was a special night for Corner Canyon’s five seniors, as Feroah, Burraston, Roberts and Harris, along with teammate Ty Neibaur, all got the starting nod as Lunt strayed away from his normal early rotation in order to honor his veteran players.
Lunt said that the idea to start all the seniors actually wasn’t his idea. He said it was the underclassmen who usually start who asked to take a seat in order to give their teammates the spotlight on senior night.
That gesture was appreciated by players like Harris who hadn’t started a game his whole career until Friday night.
“I’ve never experienced the atmosphere and the feeling of (being a starter),” Harris said. “It felt awesome to be able to go out there and contribute early. It was just a great experience for me and I love all my teammates who made it possible.”
Harris said he and his fellow seniors are determined to go all the way in their final year, but added that Friday’s win was satisfying given the result when the two teams last met.
Lunt said that the team was just in a rut when they faced the Falcons three weeks ago, but that they’re starting to find their groove in the final stretch of the regular season.
“When we played them earlier — and give Skyridge credit — we were going through a tough time and were trying to find ourselves,” Lunt said. “Before Christmas we were firing on all cylinders, but we had to find our way back and I think the last three or four games we’ve started to get back to who we are. It’s awesome that we came back (and beat them).”
Lunt added that Skyridge may be going through a rut similar to the one his team is starting to overcome — and the results back up Lunt’s speculation.
“He’s a hooper for sure. That guy can just flat-out score and he’s a leader for us. The sky’s the limit for that kid.” — Corner Canyon senior Taylor Harris on Max Toombs
The loss was the fifth straight for the Falcons, who hadn’t won since blowing out the Chargers. Corner Canyon, on the other hand, has won four of its last five in that same stretch.
Corner Canyon (14-6) now sits a game-and-a-half below region-leader Pleasant Grove at 5-3, while Skyridge (12-7) sits at 4-4 in region play. The Chargers and the Vikings will face each other in a week’s time.
But as the postseason approaches, the Chargers — who suffered an overtime loss in the semifinals last year to eventual champion Davis — know where they need to be to make a deep playoff run. Lunt said that the team has a few more things they need to refine before they dive nose-first into the tournament, but admitted they may be starting to peak at the right time.
“We need to continue to do what we did tonight, we just need to do it at an even higher level,” Lunt said. “We’ve had a lot of success in the past that speaks for itself, but we just need to keep on doing what we did tonight and get better each game.”