ROY — Roy’s multifaceted center Brekkott Chapman had played one of his finest games of the year in a crucial Region 5 matchup against Sky View Wednesday night.
However, with 23.2 seconds remaining in regulation, Chapman stopped the hearts of Royal fans’ hearts when he hit the deck and immediately reached for his right ankle. Plagued by ankle injuries throughout his career, Chapman limped painfully to the Royals' bench.
But with the game on the line, he didn't stay there for long.
After Sky View had sliced a Roy lead to two points with three seconds remaining — and Chapman had returned to the floor — the junior star corralled the inbounds pass before the Bobcats quickly sent him to the stripe. He slowly walked on his weakened and worn ankle, paused momentarily before calmly burying the freebies to seal a 71-67 win.
“Obviously that was big. The one that put us up three was really big and I wanted to set up our defense in case (Chapman) did miss the (second attempt),” Roy coach Dan McClure explained. “I used a timeout there and he’s the kind of the player where I thought, ‘I could use a timeout and he’ll be fine. I’m not going to ice my own shooter.’ And stretching that from three to four and they’re out of timeouts — the ballgame is over.”
Chapman, who said the free throws were “common nature” because of repetition during practice, finished with a team-high 28 points, 15 of which came in a first-quarter clinic he displayed from all angles offensively. The performance was even more impressive considering the region implications of course — but also because it was against Utah State commit Jalen Moore.
“When some big-time player is coming in you’re always going to have that extra edge in your mindset,” Chapman said. “I’ve played against him multiple times — I know how he plays — and I wanted to come out and get a quick start and that’s what happened.”
Sky View originally started out in a 2-3 zone with Moore primarily guarding on the left wing, but Roy countered with shots from the right and in open gaps in the middle. After Chapman poured in 15 points with three 3-pointers, the Bobcats were forced to switch to man-to-man.
“I think Brekkott is so tough to guard man-to-man, so I think teams are really tentative to do that,” McClure said. “I don’t think (Sky View coach Kirk Hillyard) wanted to put Jalen (Moore) on him. That’s a tough matchup.”
The Royals (13-4, 4-1) took a 26-13 lead after the first quarter and connected on 10 of 14 attempts in the first eight minutes.
On the opening possession of the second quarter, Sky View caught the break it needed. After a turnover, Moore raced down the court for an apparent dunk, but settled for a layup while being fouled intentionally. The foul awarded Moore two free throws and Sky View retained possession. After Moore sunk both attempts, Matt Dewey hit a baseline jumper.
Suddenly, the 13-point lead dwindled down to seven points, 26-19, in less than 15 seconds.
“(If) you look at Sky View’s box scores throughout the season — they’re a team of runs. Even a lot of their runs they’re tight going into halftime and third quarter they come out and it’s 22-6 or something,” McClure said. “So I knew a run was coming.”
The Bobcats (12-5, 2-3) outscored Roy 18-9 in the second quarter to pull within four, 35-31, at the break.
In the third quarter, after Chapman picked up two quick fouls, Sky View made another push. Trailing 49-44 with 53 seconds left in the quarter, the Bobcats switched to a full-court press, a decision that eventually led to a 7-0 run to knot things up heading into the final eight minutes.
With 7:02 in the fourth, Sky View took its first lead since 2-0 when Moore hammered home a two-handed putback dunk for a 51-49 advantage.
Moore tallied a game-high 29 points and Ty Nielsen added 14 points for the Bobcats.
The Royals then turned to their role players: David Hadley, Jaden Jackson and Jesse Wayment, who combined for 35 points.
With the game tied at 58-58 with three minutes and a few seconds remaining, Jackson followed a miss with a one-handed acrobatic tip-in. Then, after Moore hit two free throws, Roy went on a 7-0 run highlighted by Jackson’s baseline jumper at 2:17.
“If you’ve got four guys in double figures then you’re going to be tough to beat,” McClure said. “Really more than just total points it was times when they scored — they hit some big shots.”
A straightaway banked 3-pointer by Nielsen gave Sky View a chance, but Moore's potential game-tying trey bounced twice on the cylinder and rimmed out.
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