OGDEN In recent state tournaments West Jordan has traditionally been a lower-seeded team and typically a tough out for its favored opponents.
In the opening round of Monday's 5A state tournament, the roles were reversed as favored West Jordan struggled to put away a Skyline team it beat rather comfortably in the preseason.
It took four extra minutes, but West Jordan finally got the job done outscoring the Eagles by nine in overtime to prevail 62-53 at the Dee Events Center.
"I just told our guys it's a typical playoff game," said West Jordan coach Scott Briggs. "To be able to win a playoff game you've got to win the battle inside and you've got to be able to hit free throws. I think they're a heck of a team, and we'll take a win against them any way we can get it."
In a game that featured six ties and five lead changes, West Jordan seemed to pull away slightly midway through the fourth quarter going in front 46-40 on a layup by Tyson Udy, who finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds on 8-of-8 shooting.
West Jordan was held scoreless the rest of regulation, and a 3-pointer by Kevin Wagstaff followed a 3-point play from Ryan Osterloh leveled the score at 46-46 with 1:39 remaining. Following a timeout the Jaguars held the ball and played for the final shot, but both Tanner Connors and Rayes Gallegos missed game-winning shot attempts as time expired.
"Obviously we'd like to finish stronger than that and not give up that lead, but I think that's a credit to them they were hitting big shots and pounding us inside," said Briggs.
In overtime, Jordan Weirick knocked down a quick 3-pointer to give West Jordan the early lead, which it eventually extended to 53-46 before icing the game from the free throw line.
When these teams met in the preseason West Jordan won 60-51 by forcing a ton of Skyline turnovers and limiting their inside presence.
Briggs admitted it was much tougher containing Skyline's inside presence of Andrew Jones, Cameron Taylor and Casey Taylor, who all finished in double digits this time around. Skyline also corralled its turnover problems only finishing with six.
Despite the tightly-contested game and with West Jordan's recent struggles, Jaguar guard Rayes Gallegos said he and his teammates were never worried.
"We played Skyline earlier in the preseason and beat them, so we kind of knew how they'd play, so we were pretty (confident)," said Gallegos, who put an exclamation point on the victory with an emphatic breakaway dunk in overtime putting West Jordan ahead 60-51. Asked after the game, Gallegos admitted it was his best dunk ever.Connors finished with 21 points and three 3-pointers to lead West Jordan, which shot 52 percent from the field.
Game at a glance
West Jordan 62, Skyline 53 (OT)
Top performer: Tyson Udy made 8-of-8 field goals to finish with 16 points and 10 rebounds.Key stat: In a very clean game, Skyline committed six turnovers while West Jordan committed nine.
E-mail: [email protected]