AMERICAN FORK — When Brighton went on a brilliant 12-0 run midway through the fourth quarter of its Region 4 boys basketball showdown at American Fork, it seemed as though the Bengals were well on their way to picking up a huge road victory.
Then things got crazy.
Brighton suddenly struggled to keep its composure, and American Fork came flying back, erasing the double-digit deficit and tying the game, 60-60, when Marcel Davis stole the ball and made a layup with 41 seconds to go.
But Brighton sharpshooter Corbin Miller refused to let the Bengals lose.
Miller drilled a picture-perfect 17-footer with nine seconds remaining, and the Bengals emerged with a gutty 62-60 win over American Fork on Friday.
Two days removed from beating Lone Peak in heart-stopping fashion, Brighton moved to 2-0 in the murders' row known as Region 4. American Fork, on the other hand, fell to 0-2.
"We've been in those types of situations before," said Miller, who scored nine of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to make the stretch run "Miller time."
"We've had a lot of close games before and, of course, the last game (against Lone Peak). So we've been there before. It's just a matter of calming down and executing down the stretch."
That's precisely what Miller did.
After Davis scored to tie the game with 41 seconds to go, Brighton coach Lyndon Johnson called a time out and drew up a pick-and-roll play for Miller and forward Sam Wunderli.
Miller executed it to perfection.
American Fork switched on the play, and when the Cavemen cut off Miller's route to the basket, he stepped back on the right side and drained a shot from 17 feet.
American Fork missed a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer, and Brighton survived.
That Brighton ultimately survived wasn't lost on Johnson afterward. He watched his team play phenomenally well over the first half of the fourth quarter, only to have American Fork go on a 13-3 run and nearly take the game away.
"Any time you can get a win (on the road), especially against a program like that, you gotta take it, even though we tried to give it back to them," said Johnson. "I told them it was my fault. We haven't done a good job of getting time and situation. It's hard to simulate that kind of pressure, too."
In the end, though, Miller's late heroics won the day for Brighton.
Miller said afterward he loves playing in the high-intensity environments his squad will face night after night in Region 4, and he's looking forward to the challenge of it all.
"It's a lot of fun just knowing you're gonna come in and compete every single game," he said.
"Fun," however, might not exactly describe what being in Region 4 will be like for the coaches.19 comments on this story
"It's just a grind," said Johnson. "We've only played two games, and I'm already exhausted. You watch tape, you try to prepare. They kind of did us a disservice where they played us Wednesday-Friday because now you only have one day to prepare for the Friday game, coming back from a hellacious game against Lone Peak.
"It's gonna be a grind, and we've gotta keep grinding at it."