Cyprus came into its second-round matchup against Farmington with one goal in mind, to start its postseason run with a 1-0 record.
The Pirates entered the day having not won a state tournament game since 2004, but that changed with a 85-75 win over the Phoenix.
“Our big thing was to stay in attack mode. We can get stagnant offensively and wanted to stay attacking,” said Cyprus coach Tré Smith.
The Pirates did just that in the first quarter, coming out with energy and channeling that power to key points in the game.
They hit a 3-pointer on their opening possession and never slowed down. Every time down the court, point guard Quentin Meza and the offense would play with purpose.
By the middle of the period, they had built an 18-7 lead. The difference wouldn’t get under that mark until Farmington hit a shot at the final buzzer.
Justus Jackson-Fobbs controlled things on the defensive end, deflecting passes, diving for loose balls and hauling in rebounds. His contagious energy infected the whole team, which continued to make basket after basket.
A monstrous dunk just before the end of the first quarter from Jackson-Fobbs sent the crowd into a roar.
“Right from warming up, you got to get a good warmup in and make sure you are locked in every time you step on the floor,” Jackson-Fobbs said.
By the end of the first half, Cyprus had put 48 points on the board and four different player had scored seven points.
Farmington tried to hang around, led by Collin Chandler. The Phoenix started to close the gap late in the second quarter, but Chandler picked up his fourth foul when MJ Tia stepped in front of him and was able to draw a charge.
“That was one of the bigger plays of the game. Chandler is a good player and it changed momentum completely,” Meza said.
Chandler finished the game with just three made field goals, but was able to shoot 16-for-19 from the line to tally 23 total points. Paul Beattie added 17 points and Ben Stucki had 14 in the loss.
The Cyprus role players kept making shots all night. Diego Mulford and Tia each finished with four made 3-pointers en route to 31 combined points. Jackson-Fobbs finished with 18 points and Meza switched from a distributor to a scorer in the second half to finish with 25.
“We are on our home floor, we got to let it fly and play with confidence.” Smith said. “We played together; this was a big team win.
“We were tough defensively and we were physical. All the credit goes to the kids. They did a great job and hit big shots all night. All year I have been telling our guys we are good enough. It is about what we have done the last few months.”
The Pirates have been on a tear over the last half of the season, surging from a 1-4 start to a perfect 12-0 record in Region 2 play, a fifth place finish in RPI and their first tournament win in nearly two decades.
Tia looked back on the progress this team has made, saying sharing the ball and rebounding were the two areas of improvement that led them to where they are today.
The 6A state tournament now shifts to its final stages, as the quarterfinalists will meet at the University of Utah next week to ultimately get the field down to the final two teams.
Cyprus will take on Corner Canyon in the first game on Tuesday morning in a swing matchup in which both teams have title aspirations.