The players have really bought into our new system and so two in a row is better than one in 20. —Timpanogos head coach Izzy Ingle
OREM — Two out of two is miles better than one of 20.
According to Timpanogos boys basketball coach Izzy Ingle, his program had exactly one winning season and one region championship in the 20 years before last season, when the Timberwolves took the Region 8 title. His team repeated the feat Tuesday with a 62-53 win over second-place Skyridge (5-3), keeping its region record perfect for the season at 8-0 with just two games remaining in the regular season.
"It's amazing," Ingle said as his team celebrated with Timpanogos students on the court. " The players have really bought into our new system and so two in a row is better than one in 20."
Eaquinto was especially effective down the stretch, sealing the game with four straight made free throws in the final minutes and 13 second-half points.
"He's the biggest competitor I've ever met in my life," Ingle said about Eaquinto, who is perhaps best known for his lead role on Timpanogos' state champion baseball team. "He's a two-time state champion in baseball. He's our No. 1 pitcher, and I really think that if anyone thought they could tie their shoes faster than him, he would die trying to prove them wrong."
Ingle said he trusts Eaquinto more than anyone with the ball late in an otherwise close contest, and Tuesday's game was closer than the final score would indicate. The first half saw the Falcons get off to a narrow 35-34 lead before heading into the fourth quarter up 45-43.
The fourth quarter saw both teams trade baskets for the first five minutes until a 3-pointer from Colin Christensen and a bucket from Norman gave the Timberwolves a 56-51 lead with just under three minutes remaining. Trevon Snoddy answered with a bucket for the Falcons, cutting the lead to three, before Timpanogos ran more than a minute off the clock, with Walker driving for an easy layup to put his team up 58-53 with just 1:13 remaining.
"We really weren't trying to stall it. It just looked like we were because their defense was so aggressive," Ingle said of the possession that basically sealed the game. "We really were just trying to spread the floor. I think they meant to foul, but we passed it really quck and the guy snuck behind them to lay it up."
As for Christensen's big 3-pointer that set the momentum strongly in Timpanogos' favor down the stretch, it was made sort of falling back in what could be considered an ill-advised shot. But not Christensen's coach, who encourages his players to play loose from the perimeter.
"All of our guys — they don't have the green light, they have a neon green light," Ingle said. "It's a lime-green light like the Seattle Seahawks. So we want all of our guys to have confidence. All of our guys can shoot threes at any time. We trust all of them. For him to have that confidence to take that shot was big."
Timpanogos will wrap up the regular season with games versus Springville and at Wasatch. Skyridge will look to secure the No. 2 seed out of Region 8 with games at Maple Mountain and at home versus Provo.