This was just a great basketball game played by two great teams out there tonight. And absolutely — this was a big one for us. —Timpview coach Kevin Santiago
PROVO — It's still early in the season, yet Timpview's 77-69 win over Timpanogos on Tuesday was a big one.
At least according to Thunderbird coach Kevin Santiago, who saw his team make an early and emphatic statement on Region 7 competition.
"This was just a great basketball game played by two great teams out there tonight," Santiago said. "And absolutely — this was a big one for us. This game sets the tone for us in this region because it's going to be a great region. That Timpanogos team is going to win a lot of games, so we needed this one against them on our home floor."
With the win, Timpview moves to 2-0 in Region 7 play, and 8-3 overall, and has been doing it largely with a completely different team than made a run to the 4A state championship a year ago. Gone is almost all of the Thunderbirds' frontcourt size in favor of a more perimeter-oriented and fast-paced squad.
Leading the way from that perimeter, and just about every other spot on the floor on Tuesday, was Timpview guard Hunter Erickson, who led all scorers with 31 points and six 3-point buckets.
"He got some good open looks and did what he normally does with them," Santiago said. "He's a guy who loves taking big shots, and we have a ton of confidence in him. It's also why colleges are looking at him to play for them."
Perhaps none of Erickson's six treys were bigger than the one he hit with just under a minute remaining. With the Thunderbirds clinging to a 70-65 lead, and with the Timberwolves surging, his corner 3-pointer effectively ended things.
"That was a huge shot, no question," Santiago said.
Adding to Erickson's total was Adam Santiago and Nathan Hansen, who scored 17 and 12 points, respectively.
Overall, Timpview swished through 14 3-pointers, accounting for the majority of points scored.
"That's who we are this year. We're a team that is going to work the ball and work for those open looks. Tonight we were able to knock a lot of them down against an excellent team," Santiago said.
Also boosting the Thunderbirds to the win was the first few minutes of the third quarter.
Leading just 39-36 at the half, Timpview put forth a 12-0 run to push the lead to 50-38 midway through the quarter. All 12 points came by way of four 3-point baskets, with Erickson again leading the way with two of them.
"We made shots, but I really think our defense led to that run in the third quarter," Santiago said. "We did a better job with our assignments and did a better job not allowing them to get to the rim."
Timpanogos whittled away at the lead, and managed to pull to within four points early in the fourth quarter, but Timpview seemed to have an answer at just about everything thrown its way throughout.
"A lot of these guys leading the way this year didn't get to play a lot last year, even though they thought they should have," Santiago said. "So they're not wasting their chances this year, and you saw a lot of that attitude tonight."