Everybody is playing like it’s their last game right now. We played well. I’m not content, though. We could play better. —Timpanogos head coach Izzy Ingle
OREM — The Roy Royals expected to be a heavy underdog against top-seeded Timpanogos in the first round of the 5A boys state basketball tournament.
The Royals won just five games all season but put up a good fight Monday afternoon. In the end, they couldn’t compete against the likes of the Timberwolves’ Tyler Walker, Logan Wilkey and Matt Norman, who provided more than enough offense by themselves to lead Timpanogos to a 71-46 victory at Utah Valley University’s UCCU Center.
Walker had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Wilkey and Norman contributed 15 points apiece as Timpanogos advanced to the second round Wednesday against East, which narrowly defeated Jordan.
“We brought a lot of energy,” said Wilkey, who had nine points during an 11-0 spurt that broke the game open midway through the first quarter. “We’ve played here (at UVU) before, so it’s not that big of a deal. I like playing here. It’s exciting.”
While Timpanogos had the offense, its defense also created problems for Roy, forcing 14 first-half turnovers and holding the Royals to 30 percent shooting. Roy missed all nine of its three-point attempts in the opening half and even with a 6-0 run in the final minute, still trailed 42-18.
“In the tournament, you’re either the predator or the prey. We wanted to be the predator,” said Timpanogos coach Izzy Ingle.
“We knew they had some great shooters,” said Roy coach Terry Schriver. “Playing here is a different experience for our kids and we told them nobody expected us to win. We were the underdogs and we wanted to take that pressure off them.”
Once the early nerves left, Roy finally took advantage. Timpanogos (19-6) only lost its focus once — in the third quarter briefly after reserve point guard Colin Christensen left with a broken nose. Quickly, Roy’s Alex Lamb (16 points) and Ben McBride got hot and cut the margin to 18 points.
“Christensen is our sparkplug,” Ingle said. “With him out, we had to change our rotation got out of synch a little. I hope we can get him back soon.”
Even with Christensen sidelined, Roy didn’t have the players to keep up and the Timberwolves’ big three helped rebuild the margin. Timpanogos shot just under 50 percent for the game, outrebounded Roy 36-30 and was also credited with 14 steals. When the lead reached 30 points in the fourth quarter, Ingle emptied his bench and 17 players earned post-season experience.
Ingle is hoping this year’s talented squad can challenge for the 5A state title, and at least get to the semifinals, which is the furthest the boys' program has reached in the school’s 22-year history.
“Everybody is playing like it’s their last game right now,” Ingles said. “We played well. I’m not content, though. We could play better.”
Bruce Smith grew up in Boise, Idaho, and is a longtime newspaper sports writer. He writes primarily high-school sports articles for the Deseret News.