After Corner Canyon’s dominance of Region 4 with all double-digit wins during the regular season, many speculated no team realistically stood a chance in the 6A state tournament either. They were right.
Corner Canyon’s Big 3 of Max Toombs, Brody Kozlowski and Jaxson Roberts were phenomenal throughout the state tournament at Weber State, and they put on one last show together in Saturday’s 6A state championship accounting for 92% of the Chargers’ points in the statement 66-51 victory over American Fork.
During the state tournament, they accounted for a staggering 80% of Corner Canyon’s points.
“We have three best players in the state, hands down. They’ve played for two state championships and nobody else in that caliber can say that,” said Corner Canyon coach Dan Lunt.
The trio all started in last year’s state championship loss to American Fork at BYU, and that loss served a extra motivation throughout this year’s dominant season.
“We had a sick feeling from last year so we had to not repeat that, we came in with the mentality that we’re going to win this game. I can’t be more happy with how it ended,” said Toombs, who scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Brody Kozlowski recorded another double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds as he finished the season with 19 double-doubles.
Deseret News 6A tournament MVP Jaxson Roberts had another phenomenal performance with 24 points on 11 of 14 shooting. In four tournament games he averaged 20.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.3 steals, all four of which were a bump up from his season averages.
He shot a staggering 63% from the field in those four games.
“He’s a really good player. He has the motor of a racehorse, he can move, he can defend, he can score, he can attack, he can shoot, he can do everything. He’s the biggest glue part of our team,” said Toombs.
With three players capable of being the alpha dog on Corner Canyon, Kozlowski said their willingness to focus on one end goal is what made this team so special.
“Our chemistry is elite. We’re very good friends off the court and on the court, we share the ball really well. I think that’s what elevated us about other teams,” he said.
Added Roberts, “We all know we had one goal, work hard for our teammates, play as hard as we can.”
Roberts and Kozlowski both came out with the hot hand early as the Chargers built a 12-7 first quarter lead and then stretched it to 31-17 by halftime.
Kozlowski knocked down 3 of 4 3-pointers in that opening half, while Roberts made 5 of 6 six shots.
American Fork had a hard time keeping up as it misfired frequently on 6 of 26 shooting.
In region play, American Fork lost to Corner Canyon by 10 in the first meeting and 19 in the second meeting, and neither game did it trail by that many at the half.
Corner Canyon came out quick in the third quarter pushing the lead to 19 points highlighted by a highlight-reel dunk from Roberts, who said he was as surprised anyone by the technical he was assessed for hanging on the rim.
Despite the big deficit, American Fork is a championship-caliber program that kept fighting. It went on a quick 8-0 run to cut the lead to 37-26 with 3:59 remaining in the third quarter. By the end of the quarter, the lead was back to 15 as Roberts scored at the rim three times with his dribble penetration.
“That’s how he’s played all year long. This is nothing that he hasn’t already done,” said Lunt.
In the fourth quarter, American Fork’s JR Turley drained a couple of 3-pointers early cut to the deficit to 49-41.
Unfortunately for the Cavemen, they couldn’t get stops at the other end. Corner Canyon scored nearly every time down the fourth early in the fourth quarter, with both Toombs and Kozlowski both hitting key 3-pointers to keep the lead safely at double digits.
“It was for sure all about last year, we wanted revenge. We wanted to win this thing, that was the goal from the very beginning. At the start of the season we set a goal, we’re state champs, and we kept going game by game,” said Kozlowski.
Corner Canyon finished the game shooting 56% on 24 of 43 shooting, with American Fork finishing at 35% shooting.
6A Deseret News All-Tournament Team
MVP — Jaxon Roberts, Corner Canyon
Max Toombs, Corner Canyon
Brody Kozlowski, Corner Canyon
Ashton Wallace, American Fork
Quentin Meza, Cyprus
Isaac Staley, Lone Peak