We got in trouble there in the second quarter, and then we really got in some trouble in the fourth, until guys figured out to quit taking home-run shots and stay within what we do well. —East head coach Mike Smith
OREM — Several good games are expected throughout this week's 5A boys basketball tournament, although all of them will be hard-pressed to match the thrills provided by the first one. Down 47-40 late, East rallied to turn the tables on Jordan 54-53 on Monday, with Taylor Zwick and Mikey Frazier providing the key heroics for the Leopards down the stretch.
Frazier turned in the game-winning points, driving hard toward the hoop to bank in a layup with nine seconds left. Jordan attempted a 3-pointer at the buzzer, and then a desperation put-back, with both efforts missing, and the Leopards coming away with a remarkable first-round win.
"Coach told us to get to the basket, so I turned and saw they were playing off, forcing me to my left, so I just took it — knowing they didn't want to foul," Frazier said of his game-winning shot. "We had to make sure to get it done on the defensive end after, but this feels amazing. It's just amazing."
About a minute and a half prior to Frazier's heroics saw Zwick get a steal with his team down 51-46, and with Jordan attempted to burn time off the clock with 1:36 left. Zwick then drove it all the way down the court to get a lay-in of his own, cutting the score to 51-48.
Jordan responded with a dunk by Dyson Koehler to extend the lead to 53-48 before Jaylen Harris made his way to the line for East with 50 seconds remaining. Harris made the first foul shot, but saw his second miss, with teammate Brennan Hall able to grab the rebound and kick it to Zwich, who responded by swishing through a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 53-52 with 47 seconds left.
"I knew it was good the second it left my hands," Zwick said. "It was a great rebound by Brennan, he got it to me fast, and everything just worked great there."
Jordan was unable to convert foul shots at the other end, with 27.8 left, setting up Frazier's game-winning bucket. All of the dramatic plays at the end came by virtue of the Leopards executing the gameplan as well as they have all season, according to East coach Mitch Smith.
"This is the best we've done hanging on to a gameplan all season, and it really paid off there at the end," Smith said. "We got in trouble there in the second quarter, and then we really got in some trouble in the fourth, until guys figured out to quit taking home-run shots and stay within what we do well."
Frazier, who will play for Boise State at the next level, led the way throughout for the Leopards, finishing with a team-high 17 points and six blocked shots. Andre Mulibea added 15 for the Leopards, with Zwick adding 14. Koehler led the scoring for Jordan with a game-high 19.
With the win, East advances to the quarterfinal round where it will take on Timpanogos.