MIDVALE It's no secret that West Jordan isn't at full strength.
With starters Rayes Gallegos and Tyson Udy out for another one and two weeks respectively, the Jaguars are counting on some inexperienced players to help them through the opening weeks of the preseason.
So far, that inexperience hasn't been a problem as West Jordan won its second game in as many nights Wednesday with a gritty 48-44 victory at Hillcrest.
"It's not fun to have anybody hurt, you always want to be at full strength, but at the same time we're getting a few things from some people we didn't even think we'd be bringing off the bench," West Jordan coach Scott Briggs said.
One of those unsung contributors is Udy's back-up, Joe Montgomery. The senior big man chipped in with 10 points and numerous timely rebounds down the stretch as the Jaguars outscored the Huskies 14-7 in the fourth quarter. Not bad for a player known as West Jordan's "roofer," since he spends nearly 60 hours a week roofing buildings according to his coaches.
In a game that was tight throughout, West Jordan's solid fourth-quarter execution was the difference. Trailing 37-34 after three quarters, West Jordan scored on three of its first four possessions opening up a 40-37 lead on a clutch Mason Sawyer 3-pointer.
Hillcrest tied it at 40-40 with its first field goal of the fourth quarter at the 3:08 mark, but by the time the Huskies scored again over two minutes later West Jordan had already seized control and led by six points.
"We were a little tougher defensively going down the stretch," Briggs said. "They're a difficult team for us to play, they're very physical, they set great screens, they run good sets and they don't make mistakes very often."
Mistakes may not typically be an issue for Hillcrest, but they were down the stretch Wednesday. After turning it over just three times in the opening three quarters, the Huskies committed five turnovers in the fourth quarter enabling the Jaguars to pull away. Hillcrest didn't help its cause either by making just 5-of-13 free throws compared to 7 of 10 for West Jordan.
Jordan Weirick and Sawyer each tallied 12 points to lead West Jordan, and Briggs continues to be impressed with the play of his junior starting point guard.
"I'm sure putting a lot of faith in Mason Sawyer our point guard. He still makes a lot of mistakes but I'm happy to have him for another 40 games knowing he's got a junior and senior season ahead of him," said Briggs.In the loss, Hillcrest's Sanjin Kolovrat led all scorers with 14 points, including two 3-pointers.