Coach always said it's not how you start, it's how you finish. I've been there before and I knew I could make it. ... We'll take the win any day, even if I have to give up a couple. —Trevor Hill, Alta point guard
SANDY — The night started terribly for the Davis High boys basketball team.
And, because of an impressive season-opening performance by Alta, things didn't ever get much better for the Darts.
After Davis sophomore center Tucker Hunsaker suffered a broken leg in a freakish accident during pregame warm-ups, the Hawks used strong performances by Trevor Hill, Landon Albrecht and Zach Rollins to manhandle the Darts 67-55 in a wintry Tuesday night preseason matchup.
Hill, a smooth 6-foot-3 senior guard, scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half. And Albrecht, a 6-5 senior forward, matched that game-high total with 18 of his own.
Rollins, a senior guard, added 14 points, including a trio of 3-pointers in a late 11-0 first-half flurry that helped the Hawks take a 13-point halftime lead, 35-22, after Davis had whittled away at its double-digit deficit to pull within two midway through the second period.
"It was the first game so, you know, we did pretty well, but we can clean up some stuff for sure," said Hill, who felt like the key to the victory was his team's transition offense. "We really pushed the ball really well, and we got some rebounds and stops. But we still need to clean up the boards on defense.
"I pride myself on defense. That's what got me on the floor as a freshman, so I'm just trying to keep that up."
Hill air-balled a couple of second-quarter free throws, drawing derisive jeers from the vocal Davis fans sitting courtside. But he got the last laugh by hitting his last four shots from the line.
"Coach always said it's not how you start, it's how you finish," Hill said. "Coach just talked to me and calmed me down. I've been there before and I knew I could make it. ... We'll take the win any day, even if I have to give up a couple."
It helped Hill to have Albrecht and Rollins on his team.
"They're two key players for us," Hill said. "We'll definitely need them down the stretch."
Albrecht displayed his versatility in the opening period when he threw down a dunk, then stepped outside and drilled a 3-pointer on the Hawks' next possession.
"I've just worked on it," he said of his 3-point shooting. "I've got enough confidence to do it.
"We talked about running a lot and at the beginning of the game we had a lot of transition chances, got out and ran and then slowed it down a little in the second half.
"Defense was a big part of it, too," he said. "Davis is supposed to be really good. They've got Abel (Porter), who is very good and Jesse Wade, who's going to Gonzaga — two great players. Zach Rollins did a good job defensively on Porter."
Alta sprinted out to an early 10-1 lead and, after a 3 by Porter briefly stopped the Hawks' onslaught, Albrecht's inside-outside scoring fueled a 7-0 spurt to make it 15-4. Layups by Rollins, Elijah Glissmeyer and Hill — sandwiched around three Davis free throws — put Alta on top 21-7 at the first stop.
Morrell and Kletzli fueled a 15-3 Davis run to start the second stanza, pulling the Darts within two points at 24-22. But just when it looked like Alta might be overtaken, Rollins drilled three 3s in quick succession to help propel the Hawks ahead by a 35-22 margin at halftime.
The Darts wouldn't quit, though, and after Alta pulled ahead by 19 points early in the third period, Wade sparked one last rally, scoring 10 points in a 14-4 spurt that got Davis back within striking distance at 46-37.
But Hill and Albrecht would not allow the Darts to get any closer, combining for 12 of Alta's next 14 points as the Hawks eventually led by as many as 20 and coasted in from there.