We just started playing good on defense. When we play good on defense — when we get stops — our offense always gets going, eventually. —Bountiful sophomore Camron
SALT LAKE CITY — As bad as Bountiful played through the first part of Wednesday's quarterfinal matchup with Skyline, how it finished couldn't have gone much better. The result of it all was an 80-62 win for the Braves, where they outscored the Eagles 28-14 in the fourth quarter, making an otherwise tough battle not appear as much by the final score.
Leading the way for the Braves was sophomore Camron Chism, who led all scorers with 21 points, and junior Brig Willard, who added 18. Both players came on strong late, after enduring a 12-0 run by Skyline to start the game — a start which didn't necessarily surprise Bountiful coach Mike Maxwell, who called an early timeout to settle down the troops.
Maxwell's message to his players wasn't anything elaborate, nor did it include any schematic changes to help settle his players down.
"How do you settle them down? You're down 12-0, you're going to go sit (on the bench) — that's all it is," Maxwell said regarding his simple timeout message.
His players responded slowly, but surely — cutting the Eagles' lead to 21-13 after one quarter, and then taking a 33-29 lead into the half, as players settled down, among other factors.
"Obviously Skyline started missing shots, and we were lucky for that," Maxwell said. "So we got some rebounds and just got going. You hit a few 3s, and that opens things up inside."
Leading the way from 3-point range was Chism, who scored his team's first seven points after the break, although Skyline did well matching Chism. The teams battled back and forth throughout the third quarter, with Bountiful maintaining its four-point lead, at 52-48, entering the final eight minutes.
Turns out just about all of those final minutes belonged to the Braves. Chism didn't cool off, while Willard was able to operate effectively inside. Other players, such as David Stevenson, who finished with 10 points, and Camden Knudsen, who added 12, made certain Bountiful ended things in the strongest way possible.
"We just started playing good on defense," Chism said of his team's fourth-quarter effort. "When we play good on defense — when we get stops — our offense always gets going, eventually."
As for Chism's play on the offensive end, Maxwell stated, "I love that little Chism. He's got no conscious...it's unbelievable conscious for a sophomore."
With regards to his team's slow start, Maxwell credited the big venue of the tournament quarterfinal round held at the Huntsman Center, coupled with his relatively young team.
"It's just the bright lights, and it will probably happen to us again," he said. "It's just the way it is, and these are young teenage kids...They hadn't seen this before, but it will be nice next year when I have them all back and they've all been here before."
Skyline was led by Andrew Clark's team-high 12 points.
With the win Bountiful advances to the 5A semifinals where it will take on tournament favorite Olympus on Friday.