DRAPER — It was supposed to be a premier matchup of two emerging 4A programs and a pair of standout college recruits — East's Park Van Dyke and Sky View's Jalen Moore, who have committed to play at Utah and Utah State next season — at Juan Diego High Thursday in the first round of the Jordan Holiday Tournament.
The latter eventually came to fruition, as both players tallied team- and game-highs of 22 points. However, East's defensive intensity and success in transition paired with Sky View's inability to find any rhythm offensively quickly turned the "premier" matchup into a yawner as the Leopards' won their sixth straight, 64-46.
"That's a really good team, and I think that's a great win for us. I've seen them once and saw the things they did — that's a really good team," said East coach Skip Lowe. "We score a lot of points, but I think we're a much better defensive team than we've been in the past."
The Bobcats took the early 5-4 with three minutes past in the first quarter after Moore sunk a 3-pointer from the wing and flushed home a breakaway dunk. It was the last time they would lead.
The Leopards (7-1) closed the first on a 9-0 run and didn't allow another point until the 6:55 mark in the second quarter. The Leopards, primarily operating from man-to-man defense, frustrated Sky View into 16-of-50 shooting from the field and 16 turnovers. Moore was the only Bobcat to score in double figures and hit more than two field goals.
"We were able to take away some of things that they do, and that was nice that our guys took care of their actions and turned it into more of a players' game," Lowe said.
Trailing 22-9 with 2:55 remaining in the first half, Sky View (5-2) switched to a full-court press allowing Connor Pardoe — a high-energy senior guard — to line up for consecutive treys and an uncontested layup for an 8-4 run to extend the lead to 30-13.
"Kid can shoot it a little bit," Lowe said of Pardoe. "He knocked down three 3s for us, which was big, but at the same time I think one of the big things he did early in the game is he stepped up and took a charge.
"I hadn't seen them with their press stuff, but we've got some guys that know how to move the ball," Lowe continued. "We schemed pretty well, and our guys got into it pretty quickly. I thought they hurt us a couple times, but with the ratio of how many times we got easy shots — either good looks at 3s or right at the basket — I'll take that trade-off."
The lead hovered around 20 points for the majority of the second half and never dipped under 18 for the remainder of the game.
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