OGDEN It is the rematch Bountiful has wanted since this time last year.
Like this season, the Braves were a popular pick to contend for a 4A basketball title in 2007. But Timpview derailed those championship plans by dealing them a quarterfinal loss.
Now Bountiful has its chance to serve up some revenge in this year's semifinals. And the Braves couldn't be more excited about it.
"You always want to get somebody back when they get you," senior center Ben Aird said.
If Aird plays like he did against Murray, dealing the Thunderbirds a loss shouldn't be much of a problem. The four-year starter crushed the Spartans with 27 points and 18 rebounds while leading Bountiful to a 58-46 quarterfinal victory on Thursday.
In two games at the Dee Events Center, Aird has dominated the competition to the tune of 55 points and 28 rebounds.
He has elevated his game in hopes of finally bringing home that elusive state title.
"I want it so bad I can't stop thinking about it," Aird said. "When I'm out there, I'm not going to let anything stop me."
Timpview's ability to stop Aird and the rest of the Braves may well hinge on how much gas is left in the tank for the T-Birds.
Timpview perfected the art of living on the edge on Thursday. They needed to survive double overtime with Snow Canyon, before pulling away for a 67-61 victory and securing a semifinal berth for a second consecutive season.
Overcoming the Warriors was a tough task because of the formidable inside presence created by Seth Weinheimer and Dalton Groskreutz. The T-Birds fell behind by as many as eight points in the second half, but rallied after using a zone in the fourth quarter to gain more of an advantage inside.
The defensive change-up worked well. Timpview had a slight edge on rebounds, but scored 34 points in the paint compared to 24 for Snow Canyon.
"We haven't played anybody as big as they are and it affected us a little bit," Timpview coach Perry Wildeboer said. "But we persevered."
The T-Birds also played to double overtime in their 2007 semifinal loss to Payson. But turning around and playing a day later after such a game will be a whole new experience.
Even so, sophomore center Bronson Kafusi doesn't think fatigue will overtake Timpview.
"The energy is going to be there," Kafusi said. "We're going to carry the energy from this game into our next game and just thrive off of it."
Timpview successfully shut down the Braves' inside duo of Aird and Sean Carey a year ago while using a defensive attack modeled after the "amoeba" defense Jerry Tarkanian used at UNLV.
Bountiful doesn't think that approach will work this year, though. Bountiful coach Mike Maxwell said the Braves can go big or small and outside or inside with much more ease this season.
Maxwell feels like he and his players are well prepared to avoid falling to the T-Birds again."It's been on my mind all year," Maxwell said. "I know one thing is we've got shooters this year that we didn't have last year. If they want to do what they did last year, we'll light them up."