We have guys that can score, so we knew if we get that lead and we don’t give them easy buckets, I thought we’d be OK. —Box Elder head coach Jace McKee
BOUNTIFUL — Box Elder showed tremendous patience and composure on the road on Tuesday night, a big reason it’s vaulted to the front of the Region 5 pack.
Against a Bountiful team that likes to speed a game up, Box Elder stayed composed and patient — even when the turnovers mounted in the first half — and ultimately settled in and pulled away from the Braves for a 70-58 victory.
“They’re fast, they’re quick, they get their hands on so many balls. Their pressure is great. We just wanted to look to be aggressive, but you can’t go too aggressive because you’ll force yourself into turnovers,” said Box Elder coach Jace McKee.
Big man Tyson Madson led the way with 21 points, while Max Watson added 20 points on a night Box Elder shot an impressive 56 percent from the field (22 of 39).
Bountiful, meanwhile, had an obvious off night, shooting just 38 percent from the field (23 of 59), with only three 3-pointers. It averages eight 3-pointers per game.
Box Elder improved to 3-0 in Region 5 with the victory, and a big second quarter was key.
The visitors turned it over seven times in the opening quarter and only led 11-8 after the first. They needed less than two minutes to double that output in the second quarter as Madson drained a pair of early 3-pointers and then Caleb Malone added one of his own as Box Elder opened up a 22-12 lead with 6:06 remaining in the second quarter.
Malone added another 3-pointer on a four-point play with 2.5 seconds remaining in the half as the Bees took a 36-29 lead into the locker room.
Malone hadn’t scored a single varsity point all season, but with injuries to a pair of guards in front of him, the junior came off the bench and scored 12 points as starter Cameron Saunders dealt with foul trouble.
“We go to our next guy and he came up and made some big plays,” said McKee.
Bountiful clawed to within 39-36 midway through the third quarter, but Box Elder responded with an 11-7 run the rest of the quarter, and it never led by less than five points in the fourth.
“We have guys that can score, so we knew if we get that lead and we don’t give them easy buckets, I thought we’d be OK,” McKee said.
Box Elder took care of the basketball much better in the second half with just six turnovers.
“They feed off those turnovers. We knew we’d have some, but we knew we just had to ride through it and relax and not let it get to their tempo,” said McKee, whose team was solid down the stretch, making 12 of 14 free throws.
Brig Willard led Bountiful with 24 points in the loss, while Isaac Kime added 15.