OGDEN — Brighton has been in pressure situations before, and it showed in a 70-55 win over Pleasant Grove in the first round of the 5A state playoffs Monday evening. The Bengals overcame slow starts, adjusted to unexpected wrinkles thrown at them by the Vikings and coasted to victory.
Forward Travis Devashrayee led the way for Brighton with a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds — providing a much-needed spark when other players were struggling.
“Travis is a great player for us,” said Brighton coach Jeff Gardner. “He does so much for us on both the offensive and defensive ends. He stepped up and made some really big plays for us.”
The first quarter was an ugly one for both teams. The first made basket didn’t come until the 4:30 mark and ultimately ended with the Vikings leading 10-7.
“A lot of credit goes to Pleasant Grove,“ said Gardner about his team’s slow start. “They threw a 1-3-1 trap at us that sort of threw us off guard, and they did a really good job defensively in the first quarter. They’re a good team.”
Brighton adjusted and hit its stride in the second quarter and took control of the game with a 9-2 run after three minutes in the period. Key contributions were made off the bench by players such as Brock Miller, with point guard Zach Bernardo making a big contribution.
Team leader and leading scorer Brandon Miller struggled with his shot early, but knew he could count on his teammates to pick him up.
“We’re a good team and it’s big when I can have an off night, like tonight, and it doesn’t phase our team,” Miller said. “We’re all players and we can all play, so I’m never worried about our team when I’m off. When I’m off I’ll distribute and get to the line, but I’m never worried about guys stepping up.”
The Bengals repeated their first quarter struggles to start out the third quarter — quickly allowing the Vikings to trim their 26-18 lead to 29-27 after three minutes, but responded to take a 40-33 lead into the fourth.
At that point Brighton seemed to decide that enough was enough. It had a 9-0 run to start the fourth and all but put the game away. Devashrayee was again the catalyst for Brighton’s final run, doing whatever he could to give his team a lift.
“I just try and do the little things I think,” Devashrayee said. “Coach has told me that at times he needs me to score and needs me to rebound. I just try and do the things to help our team win. I knew that we were going to be fine tonight after we got rolling.”
With the win Brighton advances to the quarterfinals where it will take on Viewmont. Having reached the state finals last season the team is very aware of what it takes to get there again and is intent on doing so.
“I think one of our great strengths is our experience,” Gardner said. “We have four kids who played a lot last year, have been to the championship game and I thought they did a really nice job in the fourth quarter making some really big plays.”