OGDEN — In the realm of sports, few things are more dangerous than a team that has nothing to lose but that begins to believe.
Few thought anything of Logan. After all, the Grizzlies were 4-6 in Region 5. Few continued to respect the fourth-seed after winning a play-in game against Box Elder, and once again, after another play-in win against Provo the next day.
That all changed Tuesday when Logan shocked the tournament with one of the biggest first-round upsets in state history against defending champion Orem. But, even then, doubts crept. The Grizzlies shot 55.9 percent and 59 percent from beyond the arc to beat the Tigers. It was the perfect storm.
They’d lose the next round anyway. Well, not exactly.
Logan put any lingering skepticism to rest with a thrilling 46-42 win over East Thursday in the quarterfinals of the 4A state championship at the Dee Events Center.
“It’s pretty neat right now because a week ago we’re in a play-in game to get to a play-in game to get to state,” Grizzlies coach Logan Brown, whose team improved to 15-11, said. “So, right now it’s a good moment for us because we’ve had our backs against the wall. I really think it credits the character of our team because they’re the ones that are winning games.
“I will tell you this: I think we’re a confident team right now and I think we’re a hungry team,” Brown continued. “They’re not satisfied with just one win. We could have been satisfied and tucked our tails after beating Orem. We didn’t. We came in here confident.”
Logan will play its region-rival Mountain Crest in the semifinals Friday at 5:50 p.m. The Mustangs have won both meetings this season.
East (18-7), jumped out to a 15-9 lead with 1:43 in the first quarter after two 3-pointers by Joe Hallman and another courtesy of Mitch Grant.
The Grizzlies didn’t panic.
The following trip down the floor, sophomore Tyler Brimhall drained his second trey to pull within three. The bucket sparked a 22-6 Logan run that culminated with a pair of freebies by Brimhall for a 31-21 edge with under five minutes in the first half.
Brimhall finished with 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting with four 3-pointers.
“Nicest thing about our team is we have five guys that can score at all times. That’s a fun thing to have because we’re not a team of superstars,” Brown said. “We don’t have a big name guy but we’ve got eight guys that want to win. That’s a good thing to have — that unselfishness.”
Logan’s continued to dictate every angle and appeared to be on cruise control with a 50-39 lead after three quarters.
But East had a different scenario in mind.
The Leopards opened the fourth behind its prolific scorer, Parker Van Dyke, with a completely different offensive swagger. In a matter of minutes, after two 3-pointers from Grant and another from Jake Bero-VanWagoner, East captured a 54-53 lead with 3:37 remaining.
Van Dyke finished with a game-high 20 points, most occurring at the free-throw line (12-for-12) after shooting 4-of-14 from the field. Grant and Hallman added 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Logan didn’t waste any time responding. The Grizzlies quickly traveled the length of the floor and found Luke Falk, who eventually scored 11 straight points to give Logan a 64-60 lead.
“We had the mismatch with me,” Falk, who tallied 16 points and hit five straight free throws down the stretch, said. “If it was any other guy we would have gone to him, but it was just me and I seized the moment.”
After a transition layup from Van Dyke, Brimhall extended the Grizzlies' lead back to four, 66-62. With ample time to get another quick two, East settled with two well-contested 3-pointers — both rimming out — before the horn sounded.
“It’s a great feeling right now and a great win for our program. East is a really good team — Parker Van Dyke is an unbelievable player,” Brown said. “I just couldn’t be more proud of my team right now ‘cause they finished that thing, especially when East made their run.”
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