High school boys basketball: 3A quarterfinal roundup, Grantsville, Juan Diego eke out wins, while Manti, Layton Christian cruise
The higher seed won each 3A quarterfinal game at the Dee Events Center, including two teams from Region 13, No. 1 Layton Christian and No. 3 Grantsville.
Here’s a recap of the four quarterfinal games.
Grantsville 35, Ben Lomond 34
Grantsville’s Carter Killian wasn’t thinking of last year at all when he stepped to the foul line with 3.9 seconds remaining and his team down one on Thursday.
There wasn’t a doubt in his mind he would make both shots and give his team the lead against Ben Lomond in the 3A quarterfinals at the Dee Events Center. He’d prepared too hard to fail.
A year ago in the 3A semifinals against San Juan, Killian stepped to the free-throw line in the final minute with a chance to give his team the lead but missed the front of the 1-and-1. Grantsville ended up losing by two.
Fast forward a year and Killian sank both free throws giving Grantsville the 35-34 lead and victory after Ben Lomond missed a half-court shot at the buzzer.
“I wasn’t even thinking about last year. I was just focusing on what I could do, the task at hand, and knocking down two free throws,” said Killian.
Killian, who was a junior last year, took last year’s loss pretty hard.
“It was hard knowing you could’ve done something in your control to seal the game,” said Killian, who said he vowed to be better prepared in the rare event that situation happened again.
“I knew that if I was ever in that situation again I’d be ready for it. All offseason I worked on free throws in the church with my dad or my brother. Shooting hundreds of free throws a day just for that moment,” said Killian, who estimates he’s probably in his neighborhood church five or six times a week shooting free throws throughout the season.
Killian hasn’t looked to see if his shooting percentages have gone up with all the extra practice, but he definitely feels more confident. It showed in the fourth quarter too as he went 4 for 4 from the line and finished with seven points to help Grantsville rally for the victory.
Neither team shot well at the Dee Events Center in the first of four quarterfinals on Thursday, shooting a combined 33% from the field.
Grantsville’s struggles in the third quarter were extreme, as it scored just two points and trailed 26-21 heading into the fourth.
Ben Lomond pushed the lead to 31-24 with 5:20 remaining in the game, but from there Grantsville slowly chipped away at the lead aided by a three critical Ben Lomond turnovers and missed free throws down the stretch.
Killian sank two free throws with 2:19 remaining to make it a 31-28 game, and then with 55 seconds left teammate Gabe Mouritsen made three free throws to cut the lead to 34-33.
Ben Lomond had a chance to stretch the lead from the line on its next possession, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1 situation.
Grantsville coach Nate Austin drew up a play for the final shot in hopes of getting Killian going downhill toward the basket. It worked out exactly as he’d hoped.
“Ultimately in the state it doesn’t matter how many turnovers you’ve got, 35 points is pretty bad offense, but ultimately what matters in the state tournament is you find a way to win,” said Austin. “You hit free throws, you get a rebound, whatever it is. As bad as we were for 31 minutes, that minute that matters is ultimately what did it for us.”
Neither team had a player scored in double figures, with the teams combined for 29 points. Grantsville will certainly need to tidy up its offense in the semifinals on Friday at 9:10 p.m. against Manti.
Manti 61, American Leadership 36
Manti only trailed for 10 seconds in Thursday’s 3A quarterfinals, but it was a timely wake-up call.
After everything went right in the first quarter, Manti coach Devin Shakespear said his team stopped paying attention to detail which allowed American Leadership to fight back and eventually grab a 26-25 lead early in the third quarter.
Everything went right from that point on for Manti, which pulled away emphatically for the 61-36 victory at Weber State to advance to Friday’s semifinals.
“In the second quarter we gave up some really crucial offensive rebounds that kept life and they got some really good second-chance points, so the focus coming out of halftime was not to give up the second-chance points,” said Shakespear.
Manti was a big favorite coming into the game against No. 18 seed American Leadership, which pulled off the stunning upset of No. 2 North Sanpete in the second round last week.
Outside of the second quarter though, which ALA shot 33%, it struggled mightily from the field in the other three quarters shooting a combined 15%.
Manti, meanwhile shot 41% and enjoyed a huge advantage in points off turnovers, 29-11.
Kayson Douglas led Manti in scoring with 17, while Dylan Anderson added 11.
Shakespear is thrilled to see his No. 7 seed team reach the semifinals, as this year’s team is far from the juggernaut 25-1 team from two years ago.
“I’m beyond proud of the boys. We’ve played a tough schedule and we’ve got a lot of different pieces moving in this group, a lot of youth, a lot of kids who are giving up things and other providing. There’s a lot of unselfish leadership out of my seniors, a lot of neat things happening,” said Shakespear.
Layton Christian 58, Summit Academy 37
Layton Christian jumped all over Summit Academy in Thursday’s 3A quarterfinal at Weber State, racing to a 17-point lead at one point in the first quarter as it rolled to the 58-37 victory.
The defending 2A state champion Eagles, who are looking to duplicate that feat in 3A, never led by less than double digits after the great start.
Layton Christian coach Bobby Porter attributes his team’s focus from the outset to the strength of the region his team plays in.
“We have a fantastic region. I’d put this region up against anybody. We have some really good coaches and they play hard. These kids know they have to play every night, cause if you don’t you lose,” said Porter.
He said defense set the tone as his team held Summit Academy to just 28% shooting for the game and 0% in the first quarter.
“We know that defense does win championships,” said Porter.
Offensively, Timmie Olubisi led the way with 14 points on 5 of 6 shooting, while Sammy Ishimwe added 13 and Tyrese Lacey and Souleymane Barro had 10 each.
With the win Layton Christian advances to Friday’s semifinal at 7:30 p.m. as it’s now two wins away from a second straight state championship.
Juan Diego 49, Morgan 43
It took overtime to determine the winner of the final 3A boys quarterfinal of the day.
It was the Malick Diallo show in the bonus period, as the big man scored eight of Juan Diego’s 10 overtime points to lead the Soaring Eagles to a 49-43 victory.
“He’s an incredible talent,” Juan Diego coach Drew Trost said of Diallo. “When he plays this hard, he’s so good — virtually unstoppable.”
Diallo finished the game with game-high totals of 24 points and 19 rebounds, to go along with two blocked shots.
The strong individual performance from the sophomore was required, as Juan Diego struggled to hit shots from the outside. The Soaring Eagles hit just three shots from behind the arc all game on 19 attempts — one of which was made by Diallo.
Morgan closed regulation out on a 9-2 run to force overtime, with all nine points coming from 3-pointers by Alex Fisher and Gavin Turner.
Midway through the final quarter of play, it appeared as though Juan Diego was taking control of the game, hovering around a six- to eight-point lead through the first five minutes of the period, but Morgan’s outside shooting, coupled with some timely offensive boards, turned the game around quickly.
With a 39-39 scoreline at the end of regulation, it wasn’t an offensive showcase by either team, but Trost said that that was what his team was expecting.
“All week we talked about how these playoff games are really low-scoring, so defense has got to carry at the end of the day,” Trost said. “Our defensive performance was huge, so I’m really proud of our guys.
The win punches Juan Diego’s ticket into the 3A semifinals where it will face top-seeded Layton Christian at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The semifinal appearance will be the fifth in the last six seasons for Juan Diego.