Box score

Alta’s boys basketball program took a big, expected dip when nearby Corner Canyon opened in 2013. It’s taken the school a decade to get back to relevance in 5A, but the Hawks are certainly back.

No. 4 seed Alta rolled past No. 12 Springville 59-46 in the 5A quarterfinals at Weber State on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2013, when it lost in the championship to Lone Peak.

“We have good team players, guys who just care about winning, and they share the ball. We always preach pass up a good shot for a great shot and I think that’s what’s gotten us here,” said Alta coach Travis Ohrn.

The key to snapping that decadelong drought was matching Springville’s physicality. Trailing 12-11 after the first quarter, Alta outscored the Red Devils in each of the next three quarters to methodically pull away for the win.

“First half we tried a few things defensively, and in the second half we just said, ‘Hey, let’s do what we do. We’ve got to go back to what got us here, play how we play, and just force them into tough shots,’ and I think we did a great job of that in the second half,” said Ohrn.

Perhaps the only weakness in what turned out to be a dominant performance for Alta was rebounding, as the team conceded 18 offensive rebounds and was outrebounded 35-24.

After the game, Alta’s players praised Springville big man Nate Visentin for being the strongest kid they’ve faced all year. He finished with 12 rebounds, eight of them offensive.

Springville only managed to turn those 18 offensive rebounds into 13 points as Alta’s size enabled the team to contest all of those second-chance opportunities at the rim.

“We just battled. We were gritty, we executed, that’s the biggest thing,” said Alta big man Jaxon Johnson, who led the Hawks with 16 points and eight rebounds.

Most coaches are nervous when their team draws the early 9:30 a.m. game in the state tournament, but Johnson loved it.

“I love playing that early, energized, all the adrenaline. You wake up and it’s already there,” he said.

Johnson has led Alta in scoring many nights this season, as he leads the team in scoring at 16.7 ppg, but it’s unselfishness throughout the season that’s been so key.

“At the end of day, Jaxon Johnson is our guy and he doesn’t care if he scores two points or 30. He’s willing to sacrifice so that we can play team basketball,” said Ohrn.

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Three other players scored in double figures for the Hawks. Freshman guard Dash Reiser came off the bench to score a career-high 13 points and grab four rebounds, with big brother Ace Reiser adding 11 and Carter Doleac, 10.

Dash Reiser played 19 minutes in the win, by far the most court time he’s seen this season.

“He’s not afraid of the moment. He’s played a lot of basketball,” said Ohrn. “He was rolling, he was doing good things so we went with him. That’s one thing I love about this team, they’re always the next guy up. I preach to our guys, ‘Hey, when you get your chance and your number gets called do something positive to help us and we’ll go with the hot hand,’” said Ohrn.