3A boys basketball: Snow Canyon Warriors turn back Ben Lomond in overtime thriller
OGDEN — Snow Canyon's hopes of having any chance at winning this year's 3A boys state basketball championship came down to 3-point shooting and offensive rebounding.
Those happen to be two vital skills that the Warriors take great pride in.
And, thanks in no small part to their ability to do those two things with the outcome of their state tournament quarterfinal clash on the line, the Warriors are still alive in the championship chase.
Sophomore guard Jacob Frei buried a 3-point bomb from the top of the arc with 31 seconds remaining in overtime — on a possession that was kept alive by the Warriors' hard work on the offensive boards — and Snow Canyon grabbed another critical offensive rebound following a missed free throw with 3.7 seconds left to deny Ben Lomond a possible last-gasp attempt to win it in a 67-66 thriller Thursday morning at the Dee Events Center.
"I got a good kickout from Nate (Gottfredson)," Frei said of the offensive rebound that gave him an opportunity to hit the huge go-ahead shot. "He boarded it well and, luckily for us, it went in. Luckily enough, I hit that last one. It was fun, a fun game, but hopefully that doesn't happen next game. We work on offensive rebounding in practice, and we get it done."
The Warriors started the game off scalding hot from 3-pont range, then cooled off considerably in the second half and OT, and Frei's 3-pointer provided their only points of the extra session, as they missed the front end of two one-and-ones in the final 13.6 seconds, but grabbed the offensive rebound after the second one to preserve the tense victory.
"Just keep shooting, keep shooting," Frei said when asked what he and his teammates needed to do when they went cold from the outside. "We know we're a team of good shooters, and we know one will fall when we need it to fall."
Snow Canyon coach James Brown was mighty proud of the way his sophomore guard played in Thursday's intense showdown against the Scots.
"Jake did a great job today," Brown said. "As he was growing up, we always knew he could shoot and score and stuff like that. He's been struggling a little bit this year, but he came in and hit some big ones today, so maybe he's peaking at the right time and maybe the rest of us will, too."
On the strength of his superb 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point range, Frei finished with 20 points. Gottfredson, the Warriors' 6-foot-7 junior center, added 14 points and 10 rebounds, and senior guard Chandler Gines chipped in with a dozen points and 11 boards for Snow Canyon, which had a whopping 16 offensive rebounds in all on its way to a decisive 34-23 advantage on the backboards.
The Region 9 champion Warriors (15-6), who have won 13 of their last 15 games, will face Bear River in tonight's 3A semifinal match-up at 7:30 p.m.
Snow Canyon wound up 10-of-28 overall from 3-point range, but made only three of those bonus bombs after halftime.
"You know, at one time, I thought they were all gonna drop," coach Brown said of his team's 3-point proficiency. "And then the second half, we kinda went cool on our 3s. It's not what I was asking them to do, but we got it done. We were fortunate.
"But Ben Lomond, I tell you what, they came out defensively and got after us. There's a reason they give up the fewest points in the state (46.4 per game coming into Thursday's clash). They did a good job."
Brown pointed out that the Warriors' offensive rebounding ability has been a huge strength for them this season.