Ravell Call, Deseret News
BRIGHAM CITY — There was a bear sighting Friday night in Box Elder County, a nasty pack of Grizzlies who came a growling into town and showed they're capable of dealing out some mighty gruesome punishment.
Indeed, it was Logan High's boys basketball team that lumbered into Box Elder's gym looking for a Region 5 victory, and the Grizzlies got exactly what they wanted in a big way by mauling the Bees by 20 points, 72-52.
Logan's motion offense repeatedly burned Box Elder for easy buckets inside, while the Grizzlies' defense made things mighty tough for the Bees, limiting the home team — which had previously been undefeated in Region 5 — to just 26 points in each half.
"I think defense set the tone, man," said Logan senior point guard Taylor Compton, who scored a dozen points and directed the Grizzlies' offense with great precision. "We talked about playing defense and playing as a team. When we get those two things rolling, we can do some pretty good things, and we're starting to figure that out a little bit.
"That comes from playing together as a team," he said of Logan's offensive attack, which accounted for 21 points in the first quarter and built as much as a 24-point lead in the fourth quarter. "When you play together as a team and move the ball, you're gonna get great shots, and that's what we were able to get tonight. You have to be able to execute and put those points up on the board."
Jaxton Andersen, a 6-foot-4 junior, led all scorers with 19 points for Logan, and he scored seven of them in the first quarter to help the Grizzlies grab an early seven-point lead that they never relinquished after the second quarter.
"That was a great game. That was a fun game," Andersen said. "Box Elder's good and it's always fun to come in here and play. They always have a good crowd and I just like it here.
"We came in prepared. Coach (Logan) Brown watches a lot of film and we knew what we had to do. We came in and just executed.
"I think our defense was a huge part of that," he said. "(Box Elder's) Shad Watson, he's a good player, so we tried to mix it up on him. We knew if we could stop him a little bit then that would help a lot. We've been playing a lot better defense and we started playing as a team, making extra passes, hitting shots, just playing as a team."
Watson had 16 points and Jarom Mecham added 13 for Box Elder (9-6, 4-1), but sophomore Darius McFarland, who had accounted for 43 points combined in the Bees' previous two games, got in early foul trouble and scored just one point this time out.
"We're executing on offense," added Andersen, whose buzzer-beating inside basket gave Logan a 12-point halftime lead, 38-26, and Box Elder never got closer than 14 in the second half. "When we're cutting hard, we're pretty hard to guard. That's just what Coach tells us to do and we try to go do it."
Tyler Brimhall, another 6-4 junior who likes to light up the scoreboard, was also in double figures with 16 points as Logan improved to 4-2 in Region 5 and 13-3 overall with its fourth straight win — none of them closer than 17 points, and three of the four by 20 or more.
"I think we were ready," Brimhall said. "We're starting to put it together like we did last game against Mountain Crest, and I think we brought the same intensity to this game and we just got it done. Our defense, especially in the second half, I think we picked it up a lot.
"We're just getting it back together. I think we're playing close to our full potential right now, so I think we came out a little rusty at first but I think we're getting it back right now."
Andersen agreed with that assessment.
"This game we played really well," he said. "The first couple of games in region, we didn't play to our best. The last couple of games, we've been starting to pick it up a little bit and play how we know we can play."
And if that's true, Region 5 teams had better beware of some more big, bad bear sightings in Northern Utah in the weeks to come, because these Grizzlies are on the prowl and definitely know how to do some damage.