High school boys basketball: Weber Warriors' second-half surge sinks Northridge Knights
"Beckey was great in the second half," Larsen said. "He was a little timid offensively in the first half; they weren't really guarding him and he wasn't sure. And we just told him, 'Garrett, if you would shoot that shot in practice, shoot it in the game.' So he didn't just settle for jumpers; he started doing the things he does in practice — being active, getting putbacks, getting touches, getting rebounds and sprinting, and giving us transition opportunities.
"Garrett was great tonight; we challenged him. We challenged Garrett. And he's the type of athlete who's gonna respond. I know he is. He'll give Weber High everything he's got. He played his heart out. He always does."
Jordan Jones, Auston Tesch and Jaren McKnight also made key contributions in the victory for the Warriors, who shot a slick 19 of 21 from the foul line on the night.
For Northridge, Christensen wound up with 19 points, but only had two in the second half before fouling out with 4:40 still remaining. Jesse Armistead hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter on his way to nine points and Davy Adams added eight points for the Knights (10-6, 3-1 Region 1), who saw their three-game league winning streak snapped.
Coach Larsen didn't want to fully divulge what he told his team at halftime, but it apparently got their attention.
"We'll keep that a secret," Larsen said of his halftime pep talk. "We'll keep that a secret. It wasn't heated; you're not going to yell at the kids because they were playing their guts out.
"We wanted them to be confident offensively but not in a hurry. We knew we didn't have to score off the first pass or the first dribble. We wanted to reverse the floor a couple of times, wear (the Knights) out a little bit, and maybe we'd get some open looks. I believe we were really good field goal percentage-wise inside the 3-point line in the second half.
"But the difference was defensively," Larsen said. "We knew they've got three guys that can score and we had to stop two of them. ... The kids made a commitment to guarding, and we're gonna take pride in our defense. We know that if can stop teams, we're good enough in transition and athletic enough we'll get enough baskets, and it worked tonight."
The Warriors' coach said that his assistant coaches convinced him to make a key defensive adjustment in the second half, and the strategy made a huge difference in helping the Warriors turn things around.
"I've got to give credit to my assistants, Mark Hansen and Cody Lafeber," Larsen said. "They talked me into a defensive switch at halftime and that paid huge dividends in the second half. I've got to give them credit, because I was a little hesitant about it and they wanted me to trust them and I did. And it was a huge difference maker.
"... We were playing more help defense in the paint, and Jordan Jones altered a lot of their shots in the third quarter. With that, we were able to get up and down the floor, hit some layups and got to the foul line.
"Those two talked me into it," Larsen admitted. "... They saw some things and we ran with it and it really worked in our favor. I've got guys I know I can trust, and those guys are great."