By Randy hollis
SALT LAKE CITY — Friday night's Judge Memorial-Highland boys basketball matchup was about a half-hour late getting started.
And it took the Bulldogs' offense nearly twice that long to figure out that the best way to beat the Rams wasn't from inside the paint. Heck, no, it was from long distance.
Judge, which trailed by a dozen points in the third period and was still behind by eight entering the final frame, bombed in seven 3-pointers in the fourth quarter — four of them by slick-shooting senior guard Terrell Young — to hand Highland a 54-51 preseason setback.
Of Judge's 23 fourth-period points, all but two came via the 3-ball. Along with Young's long-distance marksmanship, Patrick Neville, Ryan Pauley and Sean Sloan each popped in a 3-pointer of their own to help the Bulldogs erase what had once been a double-digit deficit and raise their record to 5-2 with the thrilling come-from-behind road victory.
"We all played as a team and everyone hit shots, so it was easier to play and we played defense," Young said. "And as far as the momentum went, we had it. … We all just picked it up and we won the game. It was a real team effort and it was a great game to play.
"When I hit a shot, and then my teammate Pauley hit a shot and then Pat (Neville) hit a shot and everyone was just playing together as a team. And when somebody's feeling it, we're all feeling it.
"It felt good, it felt really good," Young said of his smooth shooting stroke. "It feels like it's going in — every time."
Pauley, a junior forward, carried the Bulldogs through the first three quarters and finished with 18 points, while Young had 14 — 12 of them coming in the decisive fourth-quarter rally — and Neville added nine more, five of them in that final period.
Henry Morris, Highland's stringbean junior forward, scored eight of his game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter. He hit a couple of clutch 3s in the closing 1:04 that kept the Rams in contention until the final buzzer, as Highland missed on a pair of potential game-tying 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds.
"That's a very, very good (Highland) team," Judge head coach Dan Del Porto said. "Every time we play 'em, it's a game like this. Two years ago, it was a two-pointer here that we lost; we lost a three-pointer last year, but I think our kids really still believed they could beat 'em.
"You've got to get a little luck sometimes to beat good teams in close games, and I think we got a little bit of luck tonight. But we also did some good things, and I think the biggest key in the fourth quarter was our defense. We hit some shots — definitely — but we had to stop them. We were down eight or 10 going into the fourth, and if we don't get stops, it doesn't really matter. So I was really happy with the defense in the fourth quarter."
David Divver added 11 points and Riley Tucker 10 more as the Rams (2-3), who led 26-19 at halftime, stretched their margin to 12 twice in the third quarter and still led by eight, 39-31, entering the fourth period, setting the stage for the Bulldogs' blistering 3-point shooting barrage down the stretch.
"We've got a lot of guys that can shoot it, but we definitely struggled a little bit with our shooting from the perimeter," Del Porto said of his team's sub-par performance through the first three quarters. "I think a couple of our other guys struggled that can really shoot it, but the kid, Terrell, that came in and shot the ball so well, he can shoot it. That was no surprise, no surprise at all — he can definitely shoot it.
"We lulled 'em to sleep … and then hit all those 3s," he said jokingly. "No, that was definitely not our strategy, that's for sure.
"We were running just a motion offense … trying to get the best looks we could, and that's what came up," Del Porto said of their better-late-than-never binge from beyond the arc. "And we've got four or five of them that can shoot it. It's funny about momentum sometimes, isn't it?"
Yep, even when it takes a little while to find it.