RICHFIELD — Coaches always tell players it's a team that wins a basketball game — not an individual.
Brandon Nichols was so effective in the first quarter of Liahona's quarterfinal game against Bryce Valley, scoring all 17 of the team's points, that the Mustangs switched to a box-and-one defense just to shut him down.
The result was a slower pace for Nichols, who still led the scoring in the win over the defending 1A champs 74-59 in Thursday night at the Sevier Valley Center. But the defensive scheme opened up Nichols' senior teammate Brayden Facemyer.
"He's really one of those guys who can take a came over, but tonight he knew he needed to get everybody involved," said Warriors head coach Jeremy Long after Facemyer scored 26 and Nichols finished with 29 in the win that gives the Warriors a semifinal berth. "That really made the difference tonight."
The game started as a duel between the sharp shooters from both teams. Senior Kace Roundy scored all of Bryce Valley's 12 points, while Nichols scored all 17 of Liahona's points.
The two teams had never played, but Liahona felt like it had something to prove after losing to Panguitch in last year's fifth/seventh place game.
"We got rolled by Panguitch," he said. "There had been some bad blood between us and region 20. This was payback."
With Liahona's win, there are no Region 20 teams left in the championship bracket. The Warriors will face ICS, another private school, while Wasatch Academy takes on the only public school in the semifinals, Rich.
In earning their place in Friday's marquee match-ups, the Warriors got impressive performances from several players. Nichols contributed in another significant way with 11 rebounds and three steals.
Matt Comer added 11 points and three assists, while Ross Belliston grabbed 11 rebounds. Facemyer had eight rebounds, five assists and six steals in addition to his 26 points.
For Bryce Valley, it was Roundy who led the way. He scored a game-high 36 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He also had four assists and four steals. Korde Chynoweth added 10 points, while Jacob Pearson grabbed eight rebounds.
The Mustangs kept battling back into the game, but the Warriors were able to stop the Mustangs while continuing to score.
"We knew Kace Roundy from last year," he said. "We knew they were going to come at us."
He said the Warrirors worked hard in the off-season for this weekend's tournament.
"They’ve been preparing for this every day since summer," he said. "We expected this."
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