STANSBURY PARK — The Stansbury Stallions hosted Delta on Tuesday night, hoping to improve to 4-1 on the year and gain some confidence heading into Region 11 play next week. After grabbing a 23-9 first-quarter lead, Stansbury was seemingly on its way to a nice victory.
But Delta had something to say about that.
The Rabbits were able to battle back, force overtime and eventually win the game, 72-68. Hunter Johnson had 23 points — more than double his season average — for the Rabbits, while Ryan Robbins scored 22 for the Stallions.
“We were able to shut them down with the press,” said Johnson. “They couldn’t break it, and we played hard.”
The full-court press that Delta switched to in the second half really set the tone for the Rabbits’ comeback. Stansbury had trouble getting its offense going, and Delta was able to take advantage of the turnovers by Stansbury.
After falling behind early, the Rabbits were able to outscore the Stallions 21-8 in the second quarter, battling back to within one heading into halftime.
Stansbury was able to take a 49-43 lead into the fourth quarter, but the game was far from over. Delta would outscore the Stallions 19-11 in the period, tying the game at 60 apiece.
Down the stretch in the fourth quarter it was McKay Shamo that was able to make the plays for Delta. Shamo scored three straight buckets that tied the game each time for the Rabbits, and set up what could have been the winning play for Delta.
After a Stansbury turnover, the Rabbits inbounded from the Stallion bench with 3.6 seconds remaining. Delta was able to get a great look — a wide-open 3 from the angle right, but Jaron Fowles just missed off the front iron and the game headed to an extra period.
With just 16.5 seconds left in OT, Jordan Smith headed to the line for a pair of free throws, hoping to seal the game for Delta. Smith missed both from the stripe, giving the Stallions life — and the basketball.
After a turnover by Delta with 7.1 remaining, the Stallions were able to tie the game at 70 — or so they thought. As the Stallions were fumbling the ball underneath, the Stansbury bench called a timeout, just before the basket was good, giving the Stallions 4.8 seconds to set up another play.
Stansbury was able to draw a foul with just 3.9 to go, and headed to the line for a 1-and-1. The Stallions missed the front end of it, and Delta made two more free throws to seal the victory.
Robbins, although he had a big night, was not able to get things going in the fourth quarter or OT. Delta was able to stop the Stallions’ leading scorer, forcing Stansbury to go to others down the stretch.
“We just double-teamed him,” said Johnson. “We were able to play great team D, and we were able to keep him out of the paint.”
The Rabbits move to 2-3 with the win, while the Stallions drop to 3-2. Delta will be in St. George on Friday to face Desert Hills, while the Stallions travel to Kearns to face the Cougars.
CJ Pronk is a Deseret Digital Media intern and a senior at Stansbury High School. Follow CJ on Twitter @BigCeeJ3113.