PROVO The Orem boys basketball team capped off a tumultuous week with a massive win at Timpview on Friday.
Missing two of its key players, the Tigers clawed their way back into the Region 7 playoff hunt with a 67-61 victory that couldn't have come at a better time for a team fighting to keep its ship afloat.
Earlier this week Orem coach Mike Conner learned that he would be without one of his best post players and one of the team's senior leaders and top scorers.
The Tigers made some scheme adjustments and got some other players to step in and fill the gaps left behind.
"We were ready to play," Conner said. "We just had to change some things up because of the personnel and the kids responded. The kids practiced so hard."
Topping the list of players who stepped up big was Goose Kallunki. The 6-foot-5 senior had the hot shooting touch in the first half and ended with a game-high 22 points. Once he started knocking down shots, the rest of the team started to warm up as well, and the Tigers overcame an early deficit to take the lead by halftime
"Shooting is contagious," Conner said. "When somebody gets hot it seems like everybody gets hot. Sometimes the basket looks bigger than other times. It got a little contagious for us in that first half."
Orem led 38-32 at the break, but watched that lead disappear in a hurry when Timpview opened up the third quarter with an 11-4 run. From that point the game was a tennis match, with the lead bouncing back and forth until the Tigers pulled away in the final minute.
After the T-Birds tied the game at 60 from the free-throw line, Kallunki scored a breakaway layup with just under a minute left to put Orem ahead for good.
With 27.4 seconds left, Timpview's Beau Hunter had a chance to tie the game from the free-throw line again, but he could only hit one of two attempts. On the other end, Orem's Brayden Walker knocked down his two shots from the line to push the lead to three points at 64-61.
Timpview had one last chance to tie on its next possession, but Brandon Hatton missed a contested 3-point shot from the corner and the Tigers secured the rebound and the game.
"We wanted to make sure they were contested," Conner said. "They shot long, contested shots. That's what we said during the timeout don't foul the shooter but contest everything and then rebound the heck out of it."
Bronson Kaufusi led Timpview with 18 points in the loss. Orem also got big games from Jake Robison and Jake Green who scored 13 points each.