SANDY — Losing by 22 points at home to rival Alta last week had the potential to be a real trouble spot for Brighton’s basketball team.
Not only did it tighten things atop the Region 3 standings, but it had many wondering if Brighton could recover from such a devastating loss with the regular season winding to a close.
As it turned out, however, the crushing defeat wasn’t a problem at all Tuesday night.
With first place in Region 3 up for grabs, the Bengals used a 15-0 run in the third quarter to race past Jordan for a 66-54 road victory.
“Our captains really stepped up this week, and took a situation which could’ve been a negative and sent us in the wrong direction, and really rallied the guys and got them ready to go tonight and had a great night,” said Brighton coach Jeff Gardner.
Brighton and Jordan owned 5-1 region records heading into the game, but the Bengals are clearly in the driver's seat now thanks to a pair of 17-point nights from Travis Devashrayee and Zach Bernardo.
Cottonwood, Copper Hills and West Jordan are the last three games on Brighton’s schedule, and it previously beat all three comfortably in the first round of region play. If the Bengals play defense down the stretch like they did in the third quarter Tuesday, they’ll be just fine.
Following a tight, fast-paced first half featuring the second- and third-highest scoring teams in 5A, Jordan used a 7-2 run to start the third quarter to take a 40-38 lead — its first since the opening quarter. Gardner quickly called a timeout to settle things down.
“Biggest thing was Coach told us that we needed to start picking up our defense then push the ball, and that’s what we did,” said Devashrayee. “We got some steals, big stops and we ran the floor. It was a big momentum change for us.”
Over the next four minutes, Brighton scored 15 straight points — almost all in transition — to open up a 53-40 lead with 1:15 remaining in the third. Five different players scored during the stretch.
Jordan never recovered as Brighton easily hung onto the lead in the fourth quarter despite a 24-point night from Jordan big man Brandon Pasker.
Saddled with foul trouble, Brighton leading scorer Brandon Miller only scored nine points, but everyone else around him picked up the slack.
“I thought our bench was as good tonight as it's been all season, and I thought our balance was good. And that’s important for us 'cause we have a lot of weapons,” said Gardner.
Bryce Callahan added 12 points while sophomore sub Osa Masina chipped in with numerous hustle plays, rebounds and assists during extended minutes in the second half.
“In a game like this where Brandon’s in some foul trouble and they’re obviously keying on him, it was great to see some other guys step up and have some nice games for us,” said Gardner, as his team finished the game shooting 50 percent.
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