The 4A Final Four is now filled, with the Region 2 twosome of Highland and Cottonwood posting quarterfinal triumphs Tuesday at the Huntsman Center and joining the Region 4 duo of Timpview and Orem as the four tournament semifinalists.
Highland had little trouble handling the experienced frontline of Bonneville in the Rams' 61-49 victory. Meanwhile, top-ranked Cottonwood needed a second-half surge to overcome upset-minded Davis in the Colts' 59-53 win.Timpview and Orem had advanced to Wednesday's semifinals with quarterfinal wins Monday.
Cottonwood 59, Davis 53
The Darts started out by handcuffing standout 6-7 senior Justin Weidauer with a sagging zone. It didn't hurt that the seasoned Cottonwood frontline of Weidauer, Seth Miller and Jason Yocom were shooting at a 31-percent clip - 11-of-36 from the floor. And to top it all off, Davis had made a second-period charge to lead 30-29 at halftime.
But the Darts sustained damage in the second half. Starting guards Bret Barton and Todd Heath were forced to the bench - and ultimately to early disqualification - because of foul trouble. Cottonwood guard Bradley Miller picked up some of the Colts' slack in scoring - and shooting accuracy - by tallying 17 points, making 60-percent of his shots and keying an 8-1 fourth-quarter run against Davis. And, finally, somehow, some way - Weidauer still managed a team-high 20 points, 12 rebounds and five demoralizing blocks.
"Justin got every key rebound and had some great blocks," said Colt Coach Blair Martineau, adding that he's still waiting for Weidauer to have "a big game" in the tournament - something like 30 points, 20 rebounds and a half-dozen blocked shots.
Meanwhile, Davis Coach Jay Welk was satisfied with how his team handled Weidauer. "But Brad Miller got away from us, and that says something about what a great team like that can do," said Welk. "Cottonwood did everything it had to do."
Still, Welk would have like to have had Barton and Heath more available in the crucial second half. "It's hard to play and contend without two players who are so much a part of our offense."
In their scoring absence, Travis Homer emerged with a game-best 26 points for Davis, while David Isaacson contributed 10 points and 9 rebounds.
Cottonwood jumped out to an 11-2 lead in thegame's first three minutes, with the Millers doing all the scoring and the Colts eventually settling for 17-13 after the opening period. Down by six points in the first three minutes of the second period, the Darts used an 11-4 run the rest of the way behind Homer's five points and a pair of dazzling drives to the hoop by Barton.
And the Darts' single-point lead at intermission could had been more sizeable, since more points were possible during that 11-4 surge. But Davis managed only 3-of-8 shooting from the line and a three-possession stretch of consecutive offensive fouls.
The Darts led by four a couple of times in the third, but the Colts rallied to tie and then take the lead - the last time at 38-37 on a FT by Seth Miller (who finished with 14 points) at the end of the period.
Davis stayed just as close for the first few minutes, before Brad Miller broke open a 40-39 Cottonwood lead with a driving layup, a fast-break layup, and a follow for a personal 6-1 spurt against the Darts. The Colt margin never dipped below four points the rest of the way.
Highland 61, Bonneville 49
The Chinese calendars may have proclaimed this The Year of the Ram. But on first impressions alone, the Highland hoops squad makes one wonder if it isn't The Year of the Basketball Misfits. The Rams just don't look like your average sleek, slender prep team.
No wonder - Ram starters include University of Colorado football recruit Kerry Hicks and fellow Highland lineman Quen Cannon underneath, and Air Force Academy football recruit Joe Sheffield out front. Meanwhile, those three and Cannon-like clone David Smith make 6-0 junior guard Justin Scott look simply malnourished . . . and so on and so on.
But looks can be deceiving, even for what Hicks labels as "a bunch of football guys." Highland Coach Larry Maxwell takes it one step further. "It's a team - each kid has certain things to do and they're doing them."
The Rams did those things in downing third-ranked Provo in last week's opening round. And they did them again in defeating Bonneville's tall, tournament-experienced frontline.
Cannon finished with a game-high 23 points and seven rebounds, while Scott added another 14 points, as Highland nursed single-point leads through most of the first half before exploding on a 10-2 spurt against the Lakers en route to a 26-17 halftime lead.
Mind you, most of this was done with Hicks in foul trouble and spending the last 12 minutes of the first half on the bench. During the 10-2 spurt, Cannon came through with an underneath basket, a pair of FTs and a tip-in.
Highland continued to extend its lead in the second half, breaking Bonneville's half- and full-court presses with ease and using another run - this time 12-4 - to up the margin to 17 points as Cannon, Hicks and Scott each tossed in four points during the stretch.
The Lakers, who were led by Mike Porter's 20 points and Mike DeGroot's 12, could never get closer than 11 points through the rest of the second half.
Provo 63, Bingham 57: The two-time defending champion Miners rallied from a 28-24 halftime deficit to take a 46-44 lead going into the final quarter. But the Bulldogs eliminated the Miners by outscoring them 19-18 in the final quarter, as Matthew Campbell scored all seven of his points and Matt Lohner added six in the final eight minutes.
Lohner finished with a game-high 21 points, while Terence Saluone contributed 17 for the Bulldogs. Bingham spread its points among 10 scorers, including Jason Woodbury's 14 points and Jeremy Crump's 13.
West Jordan 61, Cyprus 52: After the Pirates had posted a one-point halftime lead, the Jaguars outscored their Region 3 neighbors 11-4 in the third period and 30-20 in the second half as a whole. West Jordan's Jason Rowland and Ferando Rodrigues finished tied for team-high honors with 12 points apiece. Cade Osbrone scored 18 points and Everest Matagi 14 for Cyprus.
The Final Four is set - Orem (15-6) takes on Region 4 peer Timpview (20-3) in the 7:10 p.m. semifinal, while Highland (14-8) meets Cottonwood (20-2) in the 8:50 p.m. nightcap. The winners of Wednesday's two games meet in Friday's 8 p.m. 4A championship game.
In Wednesday's consolation games, Hillcrest (19-3) faces Viewmont (17-5) at 11:50 a.m.; Clearfield (12-10) battles Brighton (14-8) at 1:30 p.m.; Provo (18-4) plays West Jordan (10-12) at 3:10 p.m.; and Bonneville squares off against Davis (16-6) at 5:30 p.m.