GRANTSVILLE — West had a 14-point lead at halftime, but Grantsville senior forward Brady Arbon scored 21 points in the second half to help the Cowboys beat the Panthers 59-47 on Tuesday.
“We just knew that we didn’t come out with enough energy and focus to play,” Arbon said. “We knew that if we didn’t change that, we’d get blown out, so we had to change that at halftime.”
The Cowboys were held scoreless during a 12-0 West run that spanned more than eight minutes during the first two quarters. The Panthers won the second quarter 16-4 and led by 14 at halftime.
“We were playing timid, I felt like. It was like in the Kearns game where we couldn’t string our passes together and just made turnovers,” Grantsville senior guard Kevin Roberts said. “We came out in the third quarter and just played harder, and that’s what made the difference.”
The Cowboys held West to a single field goal in the third quarter, a driving layup by sophomore Iosefa Skipps, who finished with a team-high 22 points for the Panthers. Grantsville senior guard Kevin Roberts hit a 3-pointer to start the 15-4 third quarter, and senior guard Ryan Potter bookended it with a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left.
Potter hit another trey three minutes into the fourth quarter to give Grantsville the lead at 39-37.
“We didn’t finish. The message that I said at halftime was, ‘it’s 0-0. You can’t let up,’” West head coach Aton Sykes said. “The third quarter has been a problem for us all year. And it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. We just didn’t get the job done tonight. Very disappointing. Grantsville is pretty good. They’ve got some really good pieces. The No. 5 kid, the stud, he’s very active. They’re well-coached, they bust their butts, and they’re not going to stop. They had a lot of resiliency tonight, and we just didn’t finish.”
Grantsville made 9 of 10 free throws during the final three minutes to ice the game.
Arbon led all scorers with 27 points, Roberts scored nine, Potter finished with eight, and three other players combined for 15 points.
Senior guard Piol Makuei chipped in with 11 points for the Panthers (3-4), who will next face Hillcrest (3-4) at home Thursday.
Grantsville (7-2) will host Emery (5-2) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
“We didn’t want to play basketball. We had to figure out what to do to turn it around,” Grantsville associate head coach Brandon Pehrson said. “A lot of times you hear basketball is one stop, one possession at a time, right? It’s one fundamental at a time. Catch the ball. Pivot. Fake a pass, make a pass. Go up strong. It’s one fundamental at a time, and that’s how we got back into this game. It wasn’t all at once.”
Tavin Stucki has covered prep sports in Utah for more than nine years.