WASHINGTON TERRACE — Bonneville knew Wednesday night's game with visiting Box Elder was one it simply had to have. Already two games out of the last guaranteed playoff spot from Region 5, the Lakers simply couldn't afford to fall a third game back with only four remaining.
Strangely, that urgency was lacking early on for Bonneville, and the visitors were poised to run away with the victory in racing to an early 10-point lead.
It turned out to be the wake-up call the Lakers needed. They erased the double-digit deficit by halftime, and played a nearly flawless second half in running away with the 64-49 victory, the school's first over Box Elder since 2008.
"It's a great win; it puts us right where we need to be," said Bonneville coach Jason Finder.
After the ragged start in which Bonneville shot 40 percent and turned it over 10 times, the Lakers shot 56 percent in the second half as four players finished in double figures.
"Galvez and Welsh have been our consistent scorers, but whenever I can get my other guys scoring, that's a plus, that's a huge plus. And that's what you saw tonight," said Finder.
Despite the victory, Bonneville is still a game out of a guaranteed playoff spot. Sky View and Ogden lead the region with 7-4 records, followed closely by third-place Box Elder at 6-5. Mountain Crest and Bonneville are tied at 5-6. The top three teams automatically qualify for the 4A state tournament, while the fourth-place finisher gets a play-in game with the No. 4 seed from Region 7.
The decisive stretch Wednesday spanned the later portion of the second quarter and the entire third quarter. Trailing 19-9 toward the end of the first half, Bonneville outscored Box Elder 31-9 over the next quarter and a half to open up a 40-28 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
"The confidence got going, we just clicked. We kind of had them backing up, and these guys did a good job of feeling energy. We started getting steals and transition breaks, and that really lights a fire," said Finder.
For Box Elder it was a disappointing performance with big state tournament implications on the line.
The Bees shot 34 percent from the field, with leading scorer Brant Mecham in particular struggling. He fouled out late in the fourth quarter with just four points, just the fourth game in the last two years he didn't reach double figures.
"We've done really well on Mecham all three games. When we've played him, our guys rise to the occasion. He's a Division I player, and these boys understand that, and I think that's a challenge for them," said Finder.
On Wednesday they held him to 12 points under his season average.