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4A quarterfinal notebook: Highland, Timpview, Olympus and Woods Cross advance

Published: Thursday, March 3 2016 10:15 a.m. MST

Timpview beat Kearns 58-42 in Class 4A state quarterfinal basketball action in the Huntsman Center at the University of Utah Wednesday, March 2, 2016.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Sharp-shooting from the line and from the perimeter, along with a good presence on the low-post, can pay huge dividends for any team and certainly did for Highland in its 76-64 win over Mountain View on Wednesday.

For the game the Rams shot 25 of 30 from the stripe and 7 of 18 from behind the arc, solid percentages which helped build an early lead which Highland maintained throughout.

That type of sharp-shooting didn't come by mistake, according to Rams' coach Jim Boyce.

“We shoot 50 (free throws) per day and these kids are confident," Boyce said. "They’ve shot so many that they come up and hit them. So it makes it easier…I feel good about our shooting ability.”

Manning the middle for the Rams was 6-foot-8 senior Rick Schmidt, who finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while hitting on all eight of his free-throw attempts.

“He’s a warrior,” Boyce said of Schmidt. “He’s so skilled and he’s the most skilled big-man I’ve been around. He’s a great kid. He’s a very studious person and he’s money from mid-range, so I’m glad to have him on my team.”

Also making big contributions for the Rams were seniors Jayden Palauni and Will Trice. Palauni scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds coming off the bench while Trice added 10 points and five assists.

Highland's collective effort was impressive on Wednesday and necessary to not only get the win over Mountain View, but also to advance farther in the 4A state tournament.

“That’s what we need to do,” Boyce said. “We have to spread it around and you can’t have a one-man show to get deep into the tournament. You can’t have just one guy.”

— Brandon Gurney

Unheralded Bolinger comes up big for Timpview

After his team’s 58-42 4A quarterfinal win against Kearns Wednesday afternoon, Timpview head coach Kevin Santiago said center AJ Bolinger is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best, big men in the state.

“I’ve been saying all year, pound-for-pound, he’s the best big guy in the state. He’s the most patient player and he’s so good at waiting to make the right play. Then, at the last second, he’s got the quickness to give him a little edge. He was the key to the game tonight and was great at passing back out to our guards, too,” said Santiago.

And, after his stellar performance against the Cougars, Bolinger sure made a strong case to back up that statement.

Going up against an extremely athletic, long and aggressive Kearns’ defense, anchored by senior center Kur Kuath, Bolinger’s impressive post play helped him finish the night shooting a perfect 9-of-9 from the field for a team-high 18 points, five rebounds and four assists and help Timpview advance to the 4A semifinals.

“We were a little nervous at the beginning, but we started playing our basketball and got into a rhythm. They’re crazy athletic and just a very good team,” Bolinger said. “He’s (Kuath) crazy long and a great player. I’ve played guys just as good and as long, you just use some ball fakes to get around them and just play your game. I can’t wait for the semifinals — I’m really excited.”

— Ryan Love

Dowdell comes off bench to spark Olympus

Olympus guard Jeremy Dowdell is just a freshman, but you wouldn't have guessed that fact with how he performed during the Titans' 50-46 4A state quarterfinal win over Orem on Wednesday.