Even though Orem led Brighton 23-22 at the half of Wednesday night's battle for the Region 3 lead, Tigers coach Matt Logan didn't believe Orem could hang onto the lead - not unless the Tigers figured out how to keep Brighton off the boards.
"I told them at the half if they didn't get some stinking rebounds they weren't going to win," Logan said. "I was pretty intense."Orem guard Joel Clark was one of the Tigers who got the message. "He got in our face and really made us mad," Clark said. "We all made a team effort to do a better job."
Orem responded by out-rebounding Brighton 13-2 in the fourth quarter, which proved to be the difference in the Tigers' 53-43 win.
The Tigers led just 36-32 at the end of three quarters, but Brighton opened the fourth on a Denny Crockett three-pointer and a thundering dunk from Garner Meads.
Just when the momentum was shifting to Brighton, Orem answered with six straight points, four from Shawn Opunui and two from Justin Stanley and suddenly, Orem led 42-37.
After a bucket from Jesse Pinegar, Orem broke the game open. Opunui made one of two free throws and Abney hit a pair.
Opunui then picked Brighton guard Reno Mahe's pocket and raced in for a layup. Clark then scored to put the Tigers up 49-39 with three minutes left in the game.
Despite the presence of Pinegar (6-foot-9) and Meads (6-8), the Tigers actually outrebounded Brighton.
Abney, the Tigers' leading rebounder on the year with a 5.4 average, led Orem with 10 rebounds. Opunui, a 5-10 guard, had seven rebounds and Clark, a 5-11 guard, had five boards.
Brighton could have clinched the Region 3 title with a win, but the loss dropped the Bengals into a tie with Orem at 7-4.
"We just got outplayed," said Brighton coach Jim Jimas. "We've got to be able to make layups, and we didn't do that tonight."
Clark led Orem with 15 points. Opunui had 14 and Abney added 11 for the Tigers. Mead and Pinegar scored 11 points each for Brighton.
In Wednesday's other games:
HILLCREST 60, ALTA 58: The Hawks made a late charge, but it was too late as Blake Hansen scored 28 to lead the Huskies. Josh Talbert had 17 for the Hawks.
MOUNTAIN VIEW 65, JORDAN 62: Tim Henry scored 24 points for the Bruins. Jordan's Jackson Brown netted 30 points.
WEBER 78, MOUNTAIN CREST 66: Kyle Hess scored a career-high 27 points and Joey Chase added 21 as the Warriors upset the Mustangs. Tony Brown, 4A's leading scorer, was held to 15 points for Mountain Crest.
FREMONT 63, ROY 54: Aaron Miles led a balanced Silver Wolf attack with 13 points. Roy's Jamin Smith topped all scorers with 19.
BOX ELDER 83, LOGAN 70: Jarom Bishop scored 25 and Ryan Brinkerhoff chipped in 22 points for the Bees. Logan was led by Jason Stevens' 27 points.
AMERICAN FORK 48, SPANISH FORK 45: Blaine Durrant hit two threes and scored 17 points as the Cavemen won.
PROVO 49, LONE PEAK 38: The Bulldogs pulled away with a 15-6 fourth quarter. Eric Jackson and Hala Kaufusi combined for 33. Allan Burgess had 17 for the Knights.
TIMPVIEW 76, PLEASANT GROVE 56: The T-Birds were topped by Marc Roberts' 17 points. Sid Krommonhoek led the Vikings with 20.
BEN LOMOND 66, TOOELE 60: Brian Johnson sparked the Scots with 16 points. Trent Pratt and Niel Miner each had 15 for the Buffs.
GRANITE 86, BEAR RIVER 77: The Farmers locked up second place as Josh Bates turned in a career-high 36 points. Chris Huber scored 30 for the Bears.
OGDEN 81, MORGAN 72: Blake Moore scored 29 to lead the Tigers past the Trojans. Kelly Kennedy had 19 for Morgan.
CEDAR 62, DELTA 45: In a play-in game at Beaver High, the Redmen pulled away by outscoring the Rabbits 34-13 in the second and third quarters.
ENTERPRISE 54, SOUTH SEVIER 45: Reuben Evans scored 12, and John Nelson and Roy Adams had 11 apiece for the Wolves.
NORTH SEVIER 63, MILLARD 43: Brett Wanless led the Wolves with 17 points and Tyler Story added 13 in the win.
KANAB 81, PAROWAN 42: The Cowboys got 16 points from Jarron Glazier and 15 from Andy Lowe in the win.
MANTI 54, GUNNISON 48 : Rory Hansen scored a game-high 15 for the Bulldogs, but they lost the shocker in overtime.
SOUTH SUMMIT 64, ROWLAND HALL 48: Jedd Gines scored 18 and Jason Duncan 13 for the Wildcats.
JUAB 78, NORTH SUMMIT 66: Trevor Casper scored 23 points and Bret Lovell had 19 as the Wasps were victorious.
GRANTSVILLE 102, ST. JOSEPH 47: Issac Butler scored 18, Spencer Allred 17 and Kelly Mondragon had 16 as the Cowboys rolled.
1A GIRLS TOURNAMENT
At Southern Utah
There were no upsets during the first day of action of the 1A girls basketball tournament, which runs through Saturday at Southern Utah University's Centrum.
Thursday's action in the championship bracket will include: Waterford vs. Panguitch, 4:30 p.m.; Piute vs. Manila, 6 p.m.; Valley vs. Intermountain Christian, 7:30 p.m.; and Rich vs. Dugway at 9 p.m.
WATERFORD 48, MONUMENT VALLEY 44: Sarah Smylie scored a game-high 24 points to lead Waterford to the second round.
PIUTE 65, SALT LAKE LUTHERAN 33: Cally Allen and Lacy Talbot led the T-Birds to the victory with 18 and 13 points. Michele Knudsvig had 13 for the Lynx.
INTERMOUNTAIN CHRISTIAN 46, GREEN RIVER 37: Coralie Hughes scored 18 points as the Pirates advanced past the Lions, who got 12 from Danielle Mahfood.
DUGWAY 55, ESCALANTE 30: Heidi Bruce fired in four three-pointers and 22 points to lead the Mustangs.
VALLEY 69, WHITEHORSE 15: Misty Griffiths scored 19, Beverly Glover had 15 and Caroline Heaton 14 as the top-ranked Buffaloes rolled.
MANILA 59, WEST DESERT 30: Lindsey Guest and Amber Larsen led the Tigers with 14 and 11 points.
PANGUITCH 61, SALT LAKE CHRISTIAN 21: Lisa Duff led the Bobcats to the lopsided win. Alisha Edmund had all 21 points for the Dragonslayers.
RICH 50, WAYNE 47: Michelle Weston scored 15, and the Rebels hit six free throws in the final minute to escape with the victory.