WEST JORDAN — After a back-and-forth game, Copper Hills pulled away from Jordan late to set the stage for another bid in the state tournament.
"We practiced hard this week." said Tyler Lazenby. "We came out prepared and ready to play."
In what was a must-win game for the Grizzlies, Lazenby put together a dominating performance with a game-high 17 points.
Neither team could find any separation through the first three quarters as Jordan and Copper Hills traded blows. The score was within three or four points regardless of who was currently up.
All of that changed when Cameron Sanchez, who finished with 15 points, knocked down a 3-point shot to open the fourth quarter, which was followed by a quick steal and a layup, which forced Jordan coach Rob Geertsen to spend a quick timeout. However, the damage was done and Jordan was never able to steal the momentum and the lead back from the Grizzlies.
The Beetdiggers also had trouble keeping key players on the floor due to foul trouble. Taylor Loomis, Trent Neilson, and Taylor Dean all fouled out of the game.
As a result of Jordan recording so many fouls, Copper Hills was given plenty of chances from the free-throw line. The Grizz capitalized on the opportunity in a big way, going 28-of-32 (87.5 percent) on foul shots.
Next up for Copper Hills is a home game on Tuesday against Cottonwood. Lazenby says his team feels strong heading in to the senior night matchup with the Colts. If Lazenby and the Grizzlies beat Cottonwood they will punch their ticket to the state tournament.
"We're really confident on our home floor and we just have to finish strong. We won't overlook (Cottonwood)."
Cottonwood has struggled this season and is still winless in Region 3 play. Copper Hills' coach Kent Smith echoed Lazeby's confidence heading into the final home game of the season but is aware that Cottonwood has some solid athletes and the upcoming game is anything but a gimme.
As the Grizzlies prepare for their second do-or-die game in a row, Smith says that his team will prepare the same way. "We try to keep things as normal as possible."
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company