OGDEN — March continues to be kind to Brighton’s boys basketball team.
In an entertaining 5A first-round game at the Dee Events Center that featured 19 lead changes, the Bengals dominated the paint to eke out a 55-52 victory over Davis, advancing to the quarterfinals for the sixth straight year.
Brighton is tied with Lone Peak for the longest active first-round winning streaks in state tourney history.
“Our kids expect to win. These first-round games we put a lot of sweat and tears into these preparations. Our kids have been there, they’re experienced, and they get here and they expect to win,” said Brighton coach Jeff Gardner. “We’ve beat some really good programs along that streak, and it’s a credit to the great kids we’ve had and the great players.”
Mims’ dunk at the buzzer was the punctuation on Brighton’s victory.
Leading 53-52 with 17 seconds remaining, the Bengals had a chance to extend the lead but missed the front end of a one-and-one. Davis attacked quickly, but missed a potential game-winner with six seconds remaining and the long rebound was tipped out to Mims who dunked at the buzzer.
Twelve of Mims’ 18 points came in the fourth quarter, including three offensive rebound putbacks during a two-minute stretch. The last two put Brighton ahead 51-50 with 1:14 remaining and then 53-50 with 48 seconds left.
“He’s been really good for us all season long, but especially in region play. He’s found a nice groove. He’s a great kid and a hard worker. He’s not afraid to get out there and compete,” said Gardner.
After Mims put Brighton up 53-50, Davis’ Jarett Gardner cut the deficit to 53-52 on lay-up with 23 seconds left. He finished with 13 points, eight coming in the fourth quarter.
Landon Swartz led the Darts with 18 points.
Brighton’s dominance at the rim proved to be the difference all game as it outscored Davis 42-26 in the paint. In fact, 21 of Brighton’s 23 field goals came in the paint.
Two weeks ago in a win over West Jordan, the Bengals knocked down 8 of 9 3-pointers in the first half — a game Davis was there scouting. On Tuesday they attempted only three 3-pointers, missing all three.
“We’ve got kids that are capable of making shots, but tonight (Davis) did a good job of putting pressure on our guards and they got us a little bit further away from the basket than we wanted to, but that opened up some room for those guys to get in there,” said Gardner. “Credit to our kids taking what was there.”
Along with Fehoko, Jake Fisher had success driving from the perimeter adding 12 points.
Deseret News prep editor and Real Salt Lake beat writer. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org