OGDEN — It‘s been a long time coming for the perennial underdogs from Cache Valley, but Sky View can now be called state basketball champions. For the first time since 1994, the Bobcats walked off the state tournament floor as the last school standing — taking down bitter cross-town rival Mountain Crest 56-50.
“I can’t even fully express how amazing this feels,” said 4A tournament MVP Jalen Moore. “This is for our amazing fans, our families, for everyone that helped get us here — it took everyone to win this thing, and this is just an amazing moment.”
The moment was made even sweeter considering the opponent. For years, the Sky View players have played the role of "little brother" to both Mountain Crest and even Logan, but not in their final moment — when it mattered most.
“I don’t think we’ve ever beaten these guys — at least I can’t ever remember beating them,” Moore said. “Ever since we were young we’ve been battling these same guys and they’d always, and I mean always beat us up bad, so this is just an incredible thing for us.”
Moore led the Bobcats with a team-high 16 points, but it was his teammates who stepped up big in the fourth quarter — when it mattered most.
Sky View outscored Mountain Crest 18-10 in the final period — leading out with a 6-0 run to take back the lead 44-40 with just over six minutes remaining. The Mustangs made runs, but weren’t able to take the lead back from that point.
“We had a great run at the end there and had different guys step up just like we have all tournament,” said Sky View coach Kirk Hillyard. “That’s team basketball and that’s Sky View basketball — that’s what we do. We’re not selfish and we play for each other, and that’s what won this tournament.”
Mountain Crest took command early and jumped out to a 20-11 lead just minutes into the second quarter. Sky View didn’t panic, kept with its game plan and slowly chipped away at the lead — closing to tie the game up at 27-27 at the half.
The third quarter was a dogfight with no team enjoying more than a four-point lead throughout.
“We knew it would be that kind of game and we were ready for it,” Moore said. “This team has battled through so much, we never get too high and we never get too low and it worked for us. Bryan Dority made big plays at the end, Ty (Nielsen) played great, Matt (Dewey) was phenomenal again and it was just everyone stepping up.”
Dority, in particular saved his best for last. The junior guard went scoreless for the first three quarters, but provided three key baskets during the final stretch to lift his team — none bigger than his shot with 44.5 seconds remaining that gave his team a 52-47 lead.
Sky View hit its free throws from that point and came away with the six-point victory.
“You dream about this your whole life and it finally happened,” Dority said. “They put me in for defense, but I was able to get some shots that I made at the end and I’m just so happy to be part of this. It’s a dream come true.”
Dority drew the defensive assignment of guarding Tyler Crosbie, who led all scorers with 21. Following an early 3-pointer in the final quarter, Crosbie was held without a field goal and just one free throw as the Bobcats locked down on defense.
“I’m definitely proud of our defensive performance in the final quarter,” Hillyard said. “Our guys know that we need a good team effort on defense and we got that tonight. Crosbie is one tough player, but Bryan Dority did an outstanding job limiting him there toward the end.”
Other big contributors for the Bobcats were Matt Dewey, who scored 13 points on 5-7 shooting and collected nine rebounds along with Ty Nielsen who finished with nine points and a team-high four assists.
Following the game, the Sky View contingent went berserk with its celebration, but Moore was mindful to migrate over to a devastated Mountain Crest side. Despite the bitter rivalry, the tournament MVP empathized with what they were going through and made sure to console each player.
“Mountain Crest is a great team and I have so much respect for the players there,” Moore said. “That could have been us over there and I wanted to let them know they needed to keep their heads up, be proud and that they had bright futures.”
4A All-Tournament Team
MVP — Jalen Moore, Sky View
Tyler Brimhall, Logan
Tyler Crosbie, Mountain Crest
Faimafili Laulu-Pututau, Mountain Crest
Sam Merrill, Bountiful
Ty Nielsen, Sky View