GARLAND — Friday night was Miller time at Bear River High School.
Bear River's Wade "Bubba" Miller scored 42 points on 13-of-20 shooting, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range. Box Elder's Shad Watson kept pace with Miller by scoring 40 points, hitting seven 3-pointers, but Bear River held on late at home to win 76-72 over its rival inside Memorial Gym.
"It was a fun game," said Miller. "I just had to keep shooting and good things happened for us. Everybody stepped up. It was huge for us to stay in shape over the break and play so well late in the game. I think that was the difference."
Box Elder started off hot with Watson getting good looks as the Bees ran off to a 13-3 lead. Bear River had early foul trouble and that's when Miller took over. At the end of the first quarter the Bears had knotted the game at 18.
Box Elder led for three-and-a-half quarters until Austin Miller hit a 3-pointer that gave the Bears a one-point advantage. The game went back and forth until the final minute. Austin scored nine points for the Bears and was tasked with defending Watson.
The Miller cousins — Austin and Bubba — played from wire to wire for the Bears and were matched minute-for-minute, bucket-for-bucket by Watson.
The Bears nearly gave the game away with turnovers and fouls as they saw a six-point lead cut to three with 38 seconds left. But Garrett Fronk iced the game for the Bears at the free-throw line in the final minute, maintaining a two-score lead.Comment on this story
Nick Hillis scored 14 points for Bear River and had three clutch jumpers late in the fourth quarter. Stetson Summers also had four points in the fourth quarter when the Bears needed them most.
Bear River's head coach, Kasey Winters, was unable to be at the game following surgery, but should be back soon. In his place was assistant coach Jared Miller, who has been coaching the Bears' seniors their whole lives.
Tyler Bates scored 12 points for Box Elder, but fouled out late in the game. Bear River's Kyle Zundel also fouled out, only scoring four points in his few foul-ridden minutes.
Casey is a husband, father of 3, USU alum and Utah high school sports fan living in Smithfield, UT. Follow him on twitter @caseyzundel and find more of his stuff at tremontonleader.com.