OREM — Mountain View continued its improbable run to end the regular season into the postseason on Monday, defeating favored Maple Mountain 66-64 in the first round of the 4A state playoffs.
The Bruins started out strong, met some adversity midway through, but then managed to finish out things strong to punch their ticket into the quarterfinal round.
Leading the way for Mountain View was senior guard Brigham Bateman, who scored a game-high 32 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.
“I cannot say enough about Brigham,” said Mountain View coach Alan Groves. “He had 32 tonight, he shot over 50 percent from the field, but what I love about Brigham is that he’s not afraid to do the dirty work.”
The dirty work referenced by Groves came into focus with 8.9 seconds remaining in regulation with the Bruins clinging to a 2-point lead. With Maple Mountain in possession, Bateman's charge was specific: Don't let Maple Mountain's Kade Poulsen get the ball.
Poulsen warranted the attention, leading Golden Eagles with 26 points, including a 30-foot 3-pointer and two free throws in the game's final minute to set up the game-tying score.
Bateman did what was asked, forcing someone else to take the final shot, which was missed, as the Bruins came away with the win.
With Maple Mountain leading 56-55 with just over two minutes remaining, Clayton squared up for a 3-pointer that gave Mountain View the lead at 58-56. He proceeded to score his team's next five points to push the Bruins' lead to 63-57 with 1:11 remaining.
“He is a warrior,” Groves said of Clayton. “Especially guarding Poulsen the whole game — he was our guy. I talked to him before the game that he had to battle every possession, both on offense and defense, and he’s just that kind of kid. He rises to a challenge.”
As for Mountain View, it rose to the challenge after appearing to have no hopes of postseason play in early February. Then, after the players determined to not let the season slip away, the Bruins ripped off four straight wins to set up a play-in game with Timpanogos, a game they won 55-51 to earn a spot in the playoffs.
Now that they're in the playoffs, Mountain View players and coaches intend to take it as far as they can.
“We won five in a row to end the season and we need four in a row to keep going, so that’s what we’re working for,” Groves said.
Mountain View will take on Highland in the 4A quarterfinals Wednesday.