WEST VALLEY CITY A scary occurrence is happening for the opponents of Granger. The Lancers are learning how to finish off basketball games.
One night after earning a victory in overtime over Dixie, the Lancers were back at their late-game best, outscoring Skyline by eight points in the final period for a 52-45 win.
"I don't know that there is any one thing that we are doing differently," said Mani Tapusoa of the team's ability to perform better down the stretch. "We are just going out there and working really hard. We tried to get out on their shooters and clamp down defensively. Then, all we did was we hit some open shots and executed on offense."
The first three quarters were about as even as two teams could play. Skyline led by three after one. Granger had a two-point advantage at the half, and the Eagles were up 39-38 after three. Skyline had connected on 15-of-36 shots while Granger hit 14-for-35. The lead changed hands eight times with four ties.
"I told the guys to just go out and work hard, have fun and let's win a game," said Lancers coach Kurt Schneider of his speech between the quarters.
Granger came out with a different intensity to start the final period. The open looks created by the Eagles' Princeton-style offense were no longer there, and the Lancers worked the ball around beautifully with a motion and drive-and-kick approach. They opened the quarter on a 12-2 run and never looked back. The Lancers connected on five of their first seven shots.
"I guess all that running we have been doing finally is paying off," said Mani Tapusoa. We are in better shape and are able to finish off strong."
It was Mani's night to lead the team as he finished with 19 points, including five 3-pointers. Against Dixie it was his brother, Raymond Tapusoa that lit up the scoreboard with 34 points."They love to play the game, and it shows," said Schneider of the duo.