WEST JORDAN — It would’ve been easy for Copper Hills to panic after falling behind Brighton by 15 points midway through the second quarter of Friday’s important region clash.
The Grizzlies didn’t, though, a sign this young but talented team is starting to figure things out.
Copper Hills backed up last week’s eye-opening win over then-No. 2 Alta with an impressive 71-65 come-from-behind victory over Brighton on Friday to keep pace with Bingham for second place in Region 3.
“It’s big for us in a sense that we’re trying to change tradition here. It’s been a great tradition, but we’re just trying to take it to the next level and get wins that matter,” said Copper Hills coach Andrew Blanchard.
Trailing by as many as 15 in the second quarter, the Grizzlies cut the deficit to eight by halftime, grabbed a three-point lead after the third, and then built an 11-point lead at one point in the fourth en route to the win.
“It’s tough to come back on a team that’s as good as Brighton, but we just talk about winning quarters,” said Blanchard, whose team did that after the very slow start.
While Copper Hills is now in a great position to try and clinch the No. 2 seed from Region 3, Brighton now needs a win at West Jordan next Tuesday to ensure its playoff berth. If it loses, it would need to beat West Jordan in a play-in game.
Early on, it didn’t look like Brighton would be in such a precarious situation next week as it made 6 of 8 shots in the first quarter to build a 17-8 lead. Conversely, Copper Hills was 3 of 18.
“They came out and jumped on us quick and that’s a tribute to their coaching. And they’re hungry. We were kind of back on our heels a little bit, but we’re young,” said Blanchard.
The Bengals eventually extended the lead to 26-11 midway through the second quarter, and looked poised to run away with the win. That’s when Charlie Olsen came to the rescue.
His back-to-back 3-pointers and then a rebound-putback helped Copper Hills trim Brighton’s lead to 32-24 by halftime. He added three more 3s in the second half as the Grizzlies pulled away.
“Once he sees it go in one time, it’s on. He’s a really good shooter and he’s a young kid,” said Blanchard.
Senior teammate Brycen McCombs hit a big 3-pointer of his own late in the third to give Copper Hills a 40-38 lead — its first since 2-0 — and Olsen extended it to 43-40 on a trey to end the quarter.
Early in the fourth, the Grizzlies opened up a 48-40 lead and never looked back in a physical final quarter that featured a combined 23 free-throw attempts.