We were confident, but we didn’t overlook them one bit. We came in knowing we had to take care of business and bring the intensity or they could come out and beat us. —Box Elder senior Max Watson
OGDEN — Box Elder looked every bit the part of a No. 1 seed during the opening round of the 5A state tournament on Monday afternoon at Weber State.
Box Elder jumped all over Provo, racing to a 25-point halftime and dominating in every facet of the game in rolling to the easy 63-42 victory.
Tyson Madson led the way for Box Elder with 22 points and 13 rebounds, with Max Watson chipping in with 21 points. Box Elder shot 52 percent from the field as a team and outrebounded Provo 39-23.
“We were confident, but we didn’t overlook them one bit. We came in knowing we had to take care of business and bring the intensity or they could come out and beat us,” said Watson, who ranks fourth in the entire state in averaging 22.5 ppg.
With the win, Box Elder advances Wednesday’s quarterfinals at the University of Utah at 5:50 p.m.
Watson got into a great rhythm early for the Bees, burying three 3-pointers in the first quarter.
“Our team was flowing, we were moving the ball well and the ball just seemed to find me open,” said Watson.
As a team, the Bees put on an offensive clinic in the first half. They shot 61 percent in building a 19-3 lead after the first quarter and then stretching it to 38-13 by halftime.
Watson and Madson combined for 30 points in the first half, finishing a combined 13 of 19 from the field. Watson made all four of his 3-pointers in the first half.
Madson scored 14 of his 22 points in the first half, all at the rim as Provo had no answer to combat his size in the paint.
“We wanted to make sure we got to the rim early, got Tyson the ball early and even Max around the rim to get some easy wins to go in before you shoot those perimeter shots in the big gym,” said Box Elder coach Jace McKee.
As well as Box Elder was moving the ball offensively in the first half, its defense was equally as effective in forcing the Bulldogs into tough shots and keeping them off the offensive glass.
“We knew they were going to try and take us off the dribble so we really wanted to make sure we stopped penetration and keep them on the perimeter and make them shoot jump shots,” said McKee.
Those shots weren’t falling early as Provo shot just 23 percent in the first half. It got into a better rhythm in the second half shooting 42 percent from the field, but the hole it dug for itself in the first half was simply too big as Box Elder never let the lead dip below 19 points in the second half.
Jared Perez scored 15 points in the loss for Provo, with 11 of those points coming in the second half.