SANDY — Tuesday night in Los Angeles the Lakers manhandled the Utah Jazz in a game so lopsided it was painful to watch.
Wednesday night in high school basketball action, Alta and Brighton did their best reenactment of the blowout, with Alta gladly playing the role of the Lakers.
The Hawks raced to a 16-point lead after the first quarter, extended it to 27 by halftime, and led by as many as 30 points in the third quarter in an overwhelming 67-48 victory over the shorthanded Bengals.
Alta seemed mostly disinterested about the second half, but it really didn't matter. It wasn't about to blow a 30-point lead, even with Brighton shaving the deficit in half early in the fourth.
"We came out ready to play, we had a really good practice yesterday, so I had a good feeling coming in," said Alta coach Jim Barker. "They had a couple starters out, and that obviously played with their team chemistry a bit."
It was a huge victory for the Hawks, who evened their Region 4 record at 3-3 to move into a third-place tie with Brighton. A loss would've put the defending 5A champs in serious danger of missing the playoffs completely.
Alta was never in danger of losing on Wednesday though.
With Brighton missing big man Austin Hudson due to a sprained ankle, Alta went to Austin Albrecht down low early as he scored nine of his team's first 12 points. It wasn't intentional, but Barker was pleased to see his players recognize the weakness and expose it.
"The more I tell them to go there, the less we score there. So I kind of just let it happen. We've had games this year where we've tried so hard to get it there we force it and we end up turning the ball over," said Barker. "So we just tried to play and let it happen naturally, and fortunately it did for us."
Barker was just as pleased to see his players take a couple of charges early to set the tone defensively.
"I thought the difference in the game really was us pulling charges early and doing the little things, the other stuff kind of snowballed off of that," said Barker.
Without Hudson and fellow starter Derek Newell, who's now missed three-straight games with a shoulder injury, Brighton played like a dysfunctional team on both ends of the court.
It shot 35 percent from the field, 42 percent from the free throw line, and finished 24 points below its season average. Defensively, it allowed Alta to shoot 61 percent in the first half and 52 percent for the game, with the Hawks eclipsing their season average by 15 points.
With Hudson's future uncertain, suddenly Brighton (10-5) is the team in a precarious situation in Region 4. Doctors told Hudson he'll be out four-to-six weeks, but he's hoping to be back by next Friday's showdown with Lone Peak.
Based on how easily Alta (7-8) scored down low, the Bengals need their 6-foot-6 center back ASAP.
Albrecht finished with 17 points, while teammate Jarett Anderson chipped in 17 also.
"It was really big, especially coming off of the American Fork loss and how we played against them, we just really wanted to start out good tonight," said Albrecht.
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