OGDEN — Looking back, Mountain Crest coach Graydon Buchmiller said the back-to-back 3-pointers Logan drilled midway through the fourth quarter on Friday was exactly what his team needed.
“I think it finally slapped them in the face that this is it,” said Buchmiller, whose team trailed by as many 14 in the first half.
Those two treys stretched Logan’s lead to eight with 4:48 remaining in the 4A semifinal, but it was all Mountain Crest the rest of the way. The Mustangs upped the defensive intensity down the stretch, closing the game on a 16-5 run to capture the pulse-pounding 54-51 victory over region rival Logan at the Dee Events Center.
“Usually when I play I don’t notice the crowd, but tonight my ears were buzzing from all the yelling, that was a very fun game,” said Mountain Crest’s Tanner Knowles, who led all scorers with 18 points.
The victory spoiled Logan’s bid to become the first No. 4 seed to advance to a 4A state championship game since Provo won it all in 2004.
Logan had plenty of time to try and tie it after Faimafili Laulu-Pututau put Mountain Crest ahead 54-51 on a pair of free throws with 37 seconds remaining, but the Mustangs played great perimeter defense and Luke Falk’s double-clutch 3-pointer with two seconds remaining came up short.
Mountain Crest will try and capture its first basketball state championship on Saturday when it faces Sky View at 4 p.m.
“It’s crazy. That’s something you dream about all your life,” said Tyler Crosbie.
Crosbie leads 4A in steals at 3.3 per game, and his pressure defense helped spark Mountain Crest’s comeback after Falk and Tyler Brimhall had back-to-back 3s to push Logan ahead 46-38.
After a layup by Eddy Hall and a Knowles’ three-point play trimmed the lead to 46-43, Crosbie stole the ball near midcourt and raced in for a layup. It was one of 16 turnovers for Logan, which Mountain Crest turned into 21 points.
Hall followed Crosbie’s steal and layup with one of his own to give Mountain Crest a 47-46 lead — its first of the game — with 2:07 remaining.
Jordan Larsen put Logan right back in front on a driving layup with 1:49 remaining, but it was the Grizzlies’ final lead of the game.
Crosbie scored on a layup with 1:38 remaining and then Laulu-Pututau converted a 3-point play to stretch the lead to 52-48 with 56 seconds remaining.
“Sheer will. Wasn’t too pleased with (Crosbie) in the first half, but as we got down to crunch time there are just certain things you expect great players to do,” said Buchmiller.
Taylor Compton hit a 3-pointer with 44 seconds to trim the lead to 52-51, but the Cinderella Grizzlies — who had hit clutch 3-pointers all game — couldn’t get one more to drop when they needed it most.
Compton led Logan in the loss with 14 points.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company