There will be plenty of prep basketball tradition when Timpview takes on Highland in Friday's championship game of the 4A state tournament.

Timpview and Highland advanced as 4A finalists with two-point victories in Wednesday's semifinals at the Huntsman Center - Timpview edged Orem 48-46, while Highland nipped top-ranked Cottonwood 57-55.Let's put this tradition thing in perspective. Timpview is in a title contest for the fourth time in six years, with the Thunderbirds having dominated the 3A ranks during the 1980s with crosstown rival Provo. The T-birds finished second to Kurt Miller-led Ben Lomond in 1986, won back-to-back 3A crowns in 1988-89, and now advance to the 4A finals in only their second season at the 4A level. "We're used to winning it," said Timpview Coach Don Chamberlain, who has guided the T-birds for three seasons.

His counterpart, Highland Coach Larry Maxwell, is a veteran of some three decades of Utah prep coaching. The Rams' win over the Colts in Wednesday's semifinals marked his 90th tournament game and his 15th trip to the state semifinals. Friday's championship game will be his sixth, with Maxwell's having won titles in 1965, 1966 and 1979.

Just one more angle on the Timpview-Highland tradition - Maxwell once coached a pair of twin players by the names of Richard and Robert Jackson, who are father and uncle to to current T-bird standout Richard Jackson.

Highland 57, Cottonwood 55

This matchup of Region 2 peers featured a sub-matchup between the state's top two recruits - the Colts' 6-7 senior Justin Weidauer, who had signed early to play for BYU; and Highland's 6-6 senior Kerry Hicks, who was the prize catch of the University of Colorado . . . as a football lineman, that is.

"Gee, what two super kids," said Maxwell. "I just wish Kerry would stay and play basketball around here."

In individual comparisons, Weidauer won out, finishing with 30 points on 13-of-20 shooting, 10 boards, 2 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. While totaling 16 points and 9 rebounds, Hicks is the one, however, to advance to Friday's finals.

"Justin rose to the occasion," said Cottonwood Coach Blair Martineau. "Unfortunately we just needed a couple of other players to have better efforts."

Without Weidauer, the Colts shot just 8-of-26 from the field, while the patient-on-the-perimeter Rams finished with 54-percent shooting on the night. Their effectiveness was obvious from the start, using a 7-0 run to post a 13-9 lead after the first period.

With Weidauer scoring 10 of Cottonwood's first 12 points of the second period, the Colts took a 21-20 lead with 2:50 to go to the half. But it was the last lead the Colts would enjoy, as Hicks used a power drive down the baseline and two FTs to give the Rams a 24-21 intermission margin.

Cottonwood played catch-up and drew to within two at 30-28 with 4:30 left in the third, as Weidauer again scored seven of the Colts' first eight points. But Highland ran off another 9-2 spurt, keyed by five points from Joe Sheffield - another Highland gridder, bound for the Air Force Academy.

A trey by Bradley Miller helped the Colts eventually knot the score at 49-all with 1:40 remaining in the game, but Hicks answered with a three-point play and the Rams upped their lead quickly to 59-56. Highland had a five-point cushion through the waning seconds, with Weidauer's 3-pointer making for the final two-point margin.

While Hicks and Quen Cannon (yet another football body who finished with 11 points) were working inside, Highland's Justin Scott worked outside by shooting 5-of-10 from treyland en route to a team-high 17 points.

Tournament favorite Cottonwood suffered a semifinal setback for the third consecutive year, having lost in the semis to eventual two-time champion Bingham in the two previous playoffs. "I guess we could feel snakebit,"said Martineau. "But I'm just glad we had the opportunity to be here."

Timpview 48, Orem 46

The back-and-forth battle was tied at 46-46 with :08 to play and Orem was to inbound the ball at midcourt. Timpview's Richard Jackson, who was suffering through 25-percent shooting and the culprit of several costly fourth-quarter turnovers, swatted away the pass and helped set up the T-birds' game-winning chances.

Matt Bateman - himself struggling from the field by missing his five previous shots - scooped up the loose ball at halfcourt and raced in for an uncontested, decisive layup. "I thought time might be running out," said Bateman, who scored with three seconds to spare.

For the Tigers, the margin was so close. They missed out on their first hoops title appearance in more than a decade, as Orem sought its first-ever state crown. "Just by the fingertips," said Orem Coach Robert Louder of Jackson's diving deflection. "He just tipped it."It wasn't the first taste of Jackson that the Tigers had during the game. With Orem leading 10-8 in the first period, the 6-foot-6 senior - bound for Stanford after a planned LDS Church mission - used a fast-break basket and a trey to key an 8-0 spurt and a 16-10 Timpview lead after one quarter. Orem drew to within two points four separate times in the second period, but a 5-1 T-bird mini-surge - again spearheaded by Jackson and his two FGs - during the final 2:25 of the half allowed for a 27-21 Timpview advantage at intermission.

Early in the second half, Orem's Cameron Johnson sparked a 7-1 run as the Tigers tied it at 28-all. Johnson, who scored 11 of Orem's 16 points in the third quarter and finished with a team-high 15 points, scored again late in the third to pull the Tigers to a 38-37 deficit, but Doug Henstrom's bucket gave Timpview a 40-37 lead to start the fourth period.

In the final quarter, Orem again came close, opening with Adam Rasmussen's layup. But the Tigers went scoreless for the next six minutes, with key blocks by Bob Bearnson and Brad Jones helping to shut out Orem. A 6-0 run by Timpview and subsequent 46-39 lead was negated by Orem's 7-0 surge, with Brian Rasmussen's steal and three-point play on a fast-break layup tying the score at 46-all with :50 remaining.

The Tigers took possession 20 seconds later by forcing the T-birds into a jump ball. Orem called time twice before the fateful inbounds play with 8 seconds left.

Besides Johnson's 15 points, Tyler Nelson added 12 for Orem. Jackson tallied 14 points and 10 boards for Timpview, while Bearnson's efforts underneath was good for 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Consolation games

Davis 70, Bonneville 51: Down 12-8 after the first period, the Darts outscored the Lakers 39-18 during the middle two quarters. With both teams shooting below 40 percent from the floor, Davis won the game behind lines - hitting 19 free throws to Bonneville's 10 and nine treys to the Lakers' three. Bret Barton canned four 3-pointers and 22 points to lead the Darts, while Todd Heath added 14 points. Bonneville was paced by Mike Porter (16 points) and Mike DeGroot (12 points).

Hillcrest 53, Viewmont 52 : John Owen scored the last five points of the Huskies' seven-point OT and finished with 13 points, while Brian Kelley (17 points) and Scott Clark (12 points) accounted for all 17 of Hillcrest's points in the fourth quarter to force the overtime. Brad Bodily and Andy Jensen led the Vikings with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Provo 66, West Jordan 53: The Bulldogs blew out the Jaguars, turning a three-point lead with two minutes remaining by scoring the last 10 points of the game. Terence Saluone led Provo's scoring with a 25-point outing, while Matt Campbell and Nate Reynolds contributed 10 points apiece. Kenny Wamsley finished with 12 points and a pair of 3-pointers, while Jason Rowland's 11 points included a trio of treys.

Brighton 75, Clearfield 64: The Bengals' 23-point second quarter allowed Brighton to post a comfortable 35-24 halftime lead. Alex Fisher scored 22 points and Derrick Welling 15 to lead four Bengals in double figures. Joe Berrera tallied 15 points and Cory Johnson 14 to lead the Falcons.

Friday's finals

Tipoff for the finale between Timpview (21-3) and Highland (15-8) is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Huntsman Center. Meanwhile, Cottonwood (20-3) meets Orem (15-7) in a 6 p.m. consolation contest for third and fourth places.

Hillcrest (20-3) faces Davis (17-6) for fifth- and seventh-place honors in their 2 p.m. matchup, while Brighton (15-8) battles Provo (19-4) at 4 p.m. for the consolation championship in which the two first-round losers vie for sixth and eight places.