"Physical" matched up against "finesse" Friday night at the 3A prep basketball semifinals, as Ogden deployed its veteran frontline duo of Tremayne Watson and Brandon Parker against the court-wise, not-to-visibly-threatening Jordan Beetdiggers.
"Physical" won out - Ogden 68, Jordan 60 - as the Tigers make a return trip to today's 3A finals at Weber State's Dee Events Center. Ogden will meet Sky View, which beat Ben Lomond 73-57 in Friday's late semifinal.In addition to the physical-finesse battle, it was a streak against streaky play. Jordan carried an eight-game winning streak into the contest, while Ogden had showed its propensity for streaky play the night before with 18-2 and 9-0 runs in its quarterfinal triumph over Murray. Friday night, the Tigers tossed out another streak - taking a 27-20 deficit after the first period and using a 17-2 surge en route to a 39-35 halftime lead.
"We're an emotional team," said Ogden Coach Mitch Wilcox. "We rely on runs and enthusiasm."
Of course, a lopsided advantage in free throws didn't hurt, either - the Tigers connected on 31 of 39 attempts, while Jordan managed just 5-of-10.
"It's pretty hard to beat a team when you have that big of a discrepancy at the line," said Jordan Coach Hal Hale.Parker and Watson did their typcial damage inside, finishing with 19 and 15 points, respectively. But once again, junior guard Neal Geddes played a major role in the offensive attack.
You remember Geddes, who had tossed in 11 3-pointers in the Tigers' two previous tourney triumphs. He found success behind a different line Friday against the 'Diggers, making good on all 14 FT attempts and finishing with a game-high 25 points. He also scored 12 of Ogden's final 15 points to help withstand Jordan's late-game charges.
The Beetdiggers actually took the lead midway in the ragged third period, as a 3-pointer by Koy Lombardi gave Jordan a 42-41 edge. But Chris Knight hit a bucket from underneath and Geddes - who else? - made a pair of FTs as the Tigers regained a 45-42 advantage to end the third period. Ogden managed just 2-of-10 shooting from the floor in the third - Jordan, 2-of-12.
Trailing 53-48 with 4:07 left in the game, the 'Diggers forced the Tigers into four straight backcourt turnovers. But Jordan could muster only two points during the stretch, as FT misses and charging fouls plagued the Region 6 co-champion not only then but through the remainder of the game as well.
Every time Jordan would draw to within three points, Geddes would make good on the other end, hitting eight free throws, a FT-line jumper and a driving layup through the remainder of the game to maintain the Tigers' lead.
"That's one of the smartest basketball teams in the state," said Wilcox of the 'Diggers - a somewhat short, somewhat skinny squad whose physiques look more likely for extra credit than extra-curricular athletics. "It is what's upstairs that counts, not the type of body you possess."
But Wilcox said he figured that Ogden's physical play could make its mark, rather than have to rely on a trey-happy Geddes to open up the inside. "Different things go different nights - we're a smart enough team to take what's there and capitalize."
Koy Lombardi finished with a Jordan-high 22 points, while Ty Lombardi and Hadden Fraser each contributed 12.
Sky View 73, Ben Lomond 57: The locals were hoping for a crosstown championship contest between Ogden and Ben Lomond, while the Scots fans were looking for a return to the 3A finals for the first time since the Kurt Miller glory days. But the top-ranked Bobcats seemed to put both aspirations on ice - and early.
Sky View jumped out quickly to double-digit leads in the second period, setting for a 35-25 halftime advantage. Ben Lomond drew to within four points in the third period and six in the fourth but couldn't come any closer than merely flirting with come-from-behind intentions.
Despite a heavily wrapped thigh to protect a deep bruise suffered Thursday night, Sky View's Shane Mecham led all scorers with 28 points, with three of his four 3-pointers coming in a critical stretch of the third period. The Bobcats' Scott Jackson added another 26 points, including 15-of-19 from the line.
Cam Quayle's 19 points led Ben Lomond, while Ryan Nebeker and Kim Hester contributed 12 and 11, respectively.
The Scots made their final push in the fourth quarter, when Jon Udy's baseline jumper pulled Ben Lomond to within six at 54-48 with 5:10 remaining. But Sky View eased its lead back into the comfort zone as 7-of-8 free-throw shooting pushed the score to 61-51 with 1:46 to go. After a basket by Quayle, the Bobcats hit 10 of 12 shots from the line the reset of the way en route to the 16-point win.
Despite the Bobcats' top-ranking for the last third of the regular season and Region 5 title, Sky View still considers itself a Cinderella-type team in search of the first state basketball crown in the school's 27-year history.
"Gee, we're just up north and don't get a lot of exposure," said Sky View Coach Alan Wamsley, who will be seeking his first title, too, in three decades of high school coaching. "I'd rather not be ranked at all, but this bunch has been able to live up to the pressure."
Of course, the pressure diminishes when one jumps out to leads of 10-plus points in the first half alone. "I had no idea that we would get a 10-point lead against a team as good and as big as Ben Lomond," said Wamsley.
Sky View moves into Saturday's 8 p.m. championship game against Ogden, with the two teams having split their two-game series during ; the regular Region 5 season. Both won at home - Sky View posted its lopsided victory earlier in the year when Ogden center Tramyne Watson was sitting out a game for being ejected in the Tigers' previous game. And Ogden logged a 40-point triumph in the second half of league competition.
Friday's consolation games
Murray 59, Springville 52: The Spartans overturned a one-point halftime deficit by outscoring the Red Devils 31-23 in the second half. Matt Baker had 14 points and Jeremy Winget 12 to lead Murray; Andy Croshaw's 16 points were tops for Springville.
Mountain Crest 80, Spanish Fork 60: The Mustangs started the lopsided triumph early by outscoring the Dons 23-10 through the first period, during which Mountain Crest hit four of its final team-total 10 3-pointers. Jason Lyle's game-high 27 points included six of the Mustangs' treys; Robbie Reid paced the Dons with 14 points.
Emery County 78, Payson 73: The Spartans outscored the Lions in the decisive fourth quarter, as jared Butler and Gus Childs each tossed in 20 points to lead four Emery players in double figures. Bryan Nielson had 17 and Jerry Beck 16 for Payson.
Woods Cross 66, Bountiful 61: The Wildcats' Mike Gurr sank three treys to lead all scorers with 17 points, while WX teammate Ryan Creeer added 12. Bountiful's Chris Godfrey scored 14 of his team-high 16 points in the second half.
Besides the aforementioned championship game between Ogden and the Ben Lomond-Sky View winner of Friday night's late semifinal, Jordan will face the Sky View-Ben Lomond loser at 6 p.m. for third- and fourth-place honors. Woods Cross meets Murray in a noon Region 6 confrontation for fifth and seventh places. And Mountain Crest squares off against 1990 champ Emery County at 1:40 p.m. for sixth and eighth places and the consolation championship.