OGDEN In its pursuit of a second consecutive state basketball title, Provo fell back on a fourth quarter game plan that served it well.
The Bulldogs decided if Bountiful was going to beat them, it would have to do it with players other than Ben Aird and Sean Carey. Provo held the Braves' star post players to a combined four points over the final eight minutes of its 45-42 victory in the 4A championship game on Saturday at the Dee Events Center.
Bountiful had trouble feeding the ball inside throughout the fourth. More often than not, Provo came away with a timely steal, blocked a shot or forced off-balance difficult-to-make jumpers.
"Defense wins championships," said senior guard Adam Law. "It's hard to accept sometimes. We proved it today and proved (it) all tournament."
In the matchup between Aird and Carey and Brandon Davies, it was Davies who got the upper hand. The Bulldogs junior scored only a modest six points. But his seven rebounds and four blocks matched or even eclipsed what either Aird or Carey accumulated in those categories.
After playing catch-up basketball for three quarters, Davies said he and his teammates felt determined to come out and be more assertive inside.
"We talked about everything we needed to do, everything we needed to get done," Davies said. "And we just came out and did it. Played our defense like we should have from the beginning."
Provo found itself in an early hole after Bountiful opened the first quarter on a 15-4 run. The Bulldogs used Law's outside shooting to turn something that started with the early makings of a blowout into a game that went down to the wire.
Law drained a 3-pointer and added a jumper to spark a 11-2 run to get Provo back to within two at 17-15. Then the senior hit two more three-pointers in the third quarter to help the Bulldogs keep hanging around and finally tie it at 34-34 going to the fourth quarter.
Law led all scorers with 13 points. Provo coach Craig Drury credited his shooting with swinging a great deal of momentum the Bulldogs' way.
"He's such a great shooter because he knows when to shoot and when not to," Drury said.
Taking good shots was not a problem for Provo as a whole. The Bulldogs made 56 percent of their field goal attempts and shot 57 percent from three-point range.
Drury was pleased with how well Provo clamped down on the defensive end to make those high percentages count for something. The Bulldogs owned Bountiful during the first five or six possessions of the fourth quarter and, when that happened, claiming another state title the eighth for Drury and 17th for Provo was a done deal."That's what we have to do," Drury said. "We have to go stick people sometime in the quarter."