For a team representing a high school that hadn't won a state prep basketball title in 51 years, the Ogden Tigers sure had the celebration routines down pat following their 69-57 victory over Sky View in Saturday night's 3A championship finale.
Let's see, the Tigers were able to do the following, in no specific order - mob each other at midcourt, mug for the cameras, cut down the nets, take a victory lap with the trophy, rush into the outstretched arms of OHS student admirers in the stands, and even took the liberty of localizing the ultimate championship cliche as senior center Tremayne Watson declared he was "going to Lagoon."The Tigers also were set to dump the bench's water cooler on Coach Mitch Wilcox, but a Weber State official put a halt on that idea in hopes of preserving the Dee Events Center hardwood.
Yes, Ogden knew how to celebrate. They had watched Emery County do some of the same things last year after losing when the Spartans knocked off the Tigers for the 1990 3A crown. It had marked the first time in 50 years that the Tigers had appeared in a state final, and wouldn't you know they would run into a 7-foot-5 centerby the name of Shawn Bradley.
With their too-tall nemesis now swatting shots for BYU, the Tigers opted to go one step further this season - not only make the 3A finals in front of the hometown crowd, but win the championship.
"We all felt the spirit to get the championship this year," said senior guard Sheddric Mickles, who, along with Watson and Brandon Parker was a key returnee from last year's runner-up squad.
Wilcox noted the team's change of title-game attitude from last year to this: "We were not just happy to be here - we were pretty intent to win it."
And win it they did, as the Tigers made 13 of 16 shots from the floor in the second half and 13 of 16 from the foul line in the four quarter, keeping the Bobcats at bay. Leading by four to six points midway throuigh the third period, the Tigers put the game out of reach with one of their patented streaks - a 12-4 run to end the quarter - as Watson keyed the surge with a three-point play and an inside bucket. As damaging as the 12-4 spurt was, it paled in comparison to the other runs that Ogden had deployed in previous tournament games - 20-6 against Spanish Fork in the first period of their first-round matchup; 18-2 in the first half against Murray in their quarterfinal contest; and 17-2 in the second quarter against Jordan in Friday's semifinals.
The streak allowed the Tigers to boost their lead to 12 points to start the fourth quarter. The Bobcats were able to cut the deficit to single digits only twice the rest of the way.
As for the Bobcats, the state's top-ranked 3A team and winner ofthe Region 5 title (Ogden finished fourth), they were hoping for a bit of history themselves. They were playing for a state championship for the first time in the school's 27-year history. And SV Coach Alan Wamsley was without a crown in his three decades of coaching prep hoops.
On the surface, the Bobcats appeared to be the Boys of Butch, a balanced, deep team with a lot of cogs and no real superstar (junior Shane Mecham comes the closest to fitting that bill). The players took on the role of Team Together, a high-strung squad that was big on embraces, hand-clasps and high-fives in self-motivation.
The Bobcats led only once, running up an 8-4 score midway through a low-scoring first period. Then the Tigers reeled off a 9-2 mini-spurt to finish the quarter leading 13-10, as Watson scored five points in the stretch. Sky View drew even twice in the second and then cut a six-point disadvantage to just 28-26 at intermission on Scott Jackson's four-point play - a trey and follow-up free throw.
Ogden edged its way out early in the second half, and then used its aforementioned 12-4 conclusion of the third period to put the game out of reach.
Ogden, which finished its title season with an 18-6 overall record, shot 60 percent from the floor for the game. Watson led all scorers with 21 points, while Parker connected on nine of 10 field goal attempts en route to a 20-point night.
Ending with a 20-4 mark, Sky View had three players in double figures, with Mecham's 18 points - including three 3-pointers - tops for the team.Consolation games
The Ogden-Sky View 3A championship game, played late Saturday night, was one of four final-round games played at Weber State University's Dee Events Center.
In a game for third and fourth places between Friday night's semifinal losers, Ben Lomond rallied from an early second half lapse to beat Jordan 81-70. Woods Cross downed Region 6 rival Murray 80-61 in a game deciding fifth and seventh places. And in the consolation championship between first-round losers that determined sixth and eighth places, Mountain Crest defeated 1990 champion Emery County 77-63.
Ben Lomond 81, Jordan 70: The Scots jumped out to a commanding 37-27 halftime lead, but the Beetdiggers ran off a 17-4 surge to start the second half en route to a 44-41 lead late in the third period. But Ben Lomond hit four straight free throws - two coming on the first of several technicals called against the 'Diggers - and Kim Hester scored fast-break baskets to end the third and start the fourth quarter as the Scots took the lead for good.
BL's Cam Quayle finished with a game-high 22 points, while Ryan Nebeker had 20 and Hester 18. Koy Lombardi led Jordan with 15 points, while Mitch Berg and Ty Lombardi contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Woods Cross 80, Murray 61: The Wildcats rebounded from a 12-8 deficit after the first quarter by outscoring the Spartans 25-11 in the second period. WX culminated the win with a 29-point fourth quarter, during which the Cats connected on 22 of 26 free throws.
Mike Gurr led all scorers with a pair of treys, 7-of-7 free throws and 29 points, while Wildcat teammate Ryan Creer contributed 16 points. Murray's Joey Johnsen and Jeremy Winget tied for team-high honors with 16 apiece.
Mountain Crest 77, Emery County 63: The Mustangs pushed a 22-19 first-period lead into the makings of a lopsided affair, thanks to a 17-7 advantage over the Spartans in the second period.
Mountain Crest had four players score in double figures, featuring Cory Andersen (16 points) and Brandt Wilcox . Emery's Jared Butler ended with a tournament-high 38 points.