COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS It was important for Brighton to get off to a fast start in its game against the Region 2-leading Beetdiggers from Jordan.
"We haven't been getting out of the gates too well lately," said Bengals' forward Abe Millsap. "Coach told us all week how much it meant for us to get out early and jump on them. It gave us a big boost."
Right from the opening tip, Brighton got off to the hot start it desired. Millsap scored just three seconds in as the Bengals demonstrated the up-tempo game they wanted to play. The style worked as Brighton dominated nearly every facet of the game for a convincing 81-59 win and creating a log jam at the top of the Region 2 standings.
"We wanted to score right off the bat in our offense because that allows us to get into our press," said Brighton coach Lyndon Johnson. "When we can get into our press, it allows us to dictate the tempo. And when we can do that, there are not a lot of teams that can get out and play with us."
Brighton's big three of Millsap, Ali Langford and Jace Tavita did exactly what their coach wanted as the
Bengals raced to an 11-2 lead with each contributing. It appeared Brighton was going to run the 'Diggers right off the court, and perhaps it would have if not for Larry Miller finding the range in the first quarter. Miller connected on three 3-pointers to keep Jordan within striking distance. The early nine-point lead the Bengals established held at the half, 39-30.
The Bengals ended any drama early as they once again burst from the locker room to start the third. This time, it was a 12-2 run with Millsap again leading the way with a couple of quick buckets.
"He had a tremendous game," said Johnson of the 6-foot-4 senior. "He was everywhere tonight, just like his brother does for the Jazz. Abe was very active and it carried over for everyone."
Millsap finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds and the highlight of the night. With just over five minutes remaining, he took a pass a the free throw line and after a dribble he jumped up and over a defender to slam the ball home.
"My teammates kept telling me that I get up so high for rebounds, why don't I just dunk it," said Millsap. "Well, I got some emotion going and just went for it."Langford had 13 points, while Tavita added 12 and Michael Hanna 10. Jordan was paced by Preston Richards' 21 points.