High school boys basketball: Led by a career performance from Jaiden Feroah, Corner Canyon scorches the nets to advance to 6A championship game
If you told Corner Canyon head coach Dan Lunt before his team’s 6A semifinal matchup against Westlake that his team would shoot 54% from the field and 60% from 3-point range, he would’ve been feeling pretty good about the squad’s chances of winning.
Those are exactly the shooting numbers that his players posted Thursday night at the Huntsman Center in their 68-60 victory over the Thunder. The win booked the school’s first ever trip to the state championship in the 6A classification (it won the 5A championship in 2019).
“These kids were locked-in,” Lunt said. “They have been locked-in (over the last few games) and it’s going to take one more game of being locked-in or we’re not going to get what we want.”
Senior Jaiden Feroah played a game to remember and was the greatest contributor to Corner Canyon’s efficient shooting night.
Feroah went 9 for 11 from the field, 4 for 4 from the 3-point line and 4 for 4 from the foul line on his way to a game-high 26 points (his second-highest scoring output this season). The 6-foot-8 senior stuffed the box score elsewhere as well, recording five rebounds, three assists, two steals and four blocks.
“They kept leaving me open on the pick-and-pop and I just shot with confidence. That’s about it,” Feroah said of what was likely the best game of his career.
Feroah’s coach was equally frank in his response about the senior’s performance.
“He just stepped up and played,” Lunt said. “He’s a great player. They left him open and he made them pay. He played a helluva game.”
Throughout the game, the Chargers seemed to have an answer to every momentum-swinging play made by Westlake.
After Gaige Wendel sunk a buzzer-beating jumper at the end of the third to trim Corner Canyon’s lead to four, Willy Jensen sunk a 3-point shot on the first play of the fourth to make the score 50-49.
The Westlake crowd erupted, and with momentum seemingly on the side of the Thunder, the Chargers responded, scoring nine unanswered points over the next 3:30 seconds of the fourth quarter.
The run, coupled with strong defense and foul shooting (10 for 12 in the fourth quarter), allowed the Chargers to see the game out.
“Our kids just made plays when we needed to make plays,” Lunt said. “Westlake’s a great team and we knew they wouldn’t go away. They kept making runs and every time — what I’m most proud about — we never lost the lead and we extended it back out. I’m so proud of the resilience of our kids.”
During the 9-point run, the Chargers forced four Westlake turnovers, paving the way for the team to lead 15-6 in points off turnovers category.
Much to the chagrin of Lunt, the Thunder thrived at times on the offensive glass, prompting Lunt to snap a clipboard during a timeout.
The tragic loss of the clipboard was well worth it for Lunt, who felt that he saw improvement in his team’s rebounding after getting “chewed out.”
“I thought we responded in the second half and dominated the glass,” Lunt said. “It was a big difference. We backed down a bit in the first half, got some rebounds that were ripped from our hands, but we challenged them and the kids responded.”
Feroah said the talking to from his coach definitely changed the way he and his teammates approached the game.
“He knows how to get us going. We were getting destroyed on the offensive rebounds so (getting yelled at) obviously worked out,” Feroah said.
The two Region 4 teams split wins in the regular season, but it was the Chargers who got the last laugh and broke the tie with the victory.
Westlake, who lost in last year’s championship game, finished with four players in double figures, led by senior Kaden Hoppins (18 points) who also recorded a game-high seven assists.
Besides Feroah, the Chargers received scoring contributions from underclassmen Max Toombs and Brody Kozlowski, who scored 15 and 10, respectively.
The semifinal win was redemptive for Corner Canyon, which lost in overtime to eventual champion Davis in last year’s semifinal round.
Lunt said it was fitting that this year’s squad was the one that made its way into a championship game appearance after two years of his squads falling short of the championship game, but made it clear that the job isn’t finished.
“I’ve told people that this is a special group,” Lunt said. “They like each other, they play for each other and they stand up for each other. You know, (a championship) was the goal, so we’re still one game away from that.”
The Chargers will now look to hoist the trophy against another Region 4 team (winner of Pleasant Grove and American Fork) Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Marriott Center.