Giving up 48 points to a team like that is a pretty good job. Payson can score the ball. I thought our defense (today) was stellar inside. —Sky View head coach Kirk Hillyard

OREM — It didn’t take very long Thursday afternoon, at UVU’s UCCU Center, for the Sky View Bobcats to prove they deserved a spot in the 4A state semifinals.

In fact, it took all of four minutes.

Four in-game minutes was all the time the Bobcats needed to jump out to a commanding 11-point lead. Shortly after that, the lead ballooned to 13 points and by the time the first quarter came to a close Sky View held a commanding 16-point advantage over the Payson Lions.

Payson battled back over the final three quarters, there was a reason the No. 3 seeded Lions had advanced to the state quarterfinals after all, but the Bobcats ultimately proved too much.

Led by Andrew Dean, who recorded a double-double with 14 points and 17 rebounds, as well as Cole Smith and Mason Falslev, who each chipped in 14 points, Sky View defeated Payson 63-48.

“I am just happy for the kids,” Sky View head coach Kirk Hillyard said. “Giving up 48 points to a team like that is a pretty good job. Payson can score the ball. I thought our defense (today) was stellar inside. I thought Andrew and Koebe Wilson did a great job on their bigs.”

“It helps when we are scoring inside too,” he continued. “Andrew was an animal down there with rebounds. Good job by the kids today.”

Dean was particularly impressive all things considered. Pitted against Lions big men Jace Moe and Hagen Wright, who averaged a combined 29 points per game this season, Dean came through time and again for the Bobcats.

His nine first-quarter rebounds stood out, as it was his success on the boards that keyed the Bobcats' early success.

“(Andrew) is good rebounding the ball when there is someone his size. When he is rebounding against smaller guys it is harder for him, but Jace Moe is a big physical kid,” said Hillyard. “We (also) knew we had to keep Hagen Wright off the glass. That was a big key tonight cause he likes to get a lot of putbacks, that's where he gets most of his points. Andrew did a great job boxing him out.”

“I just tried to get down (on the block) as fast as I could,” Dean said of his rebounding success. On film, I thought (Moe) wasn’t that big but he is a big strong kid. I just put a body on him.”

As for his success on the offensive end, Dean came into the contest averaging just under eight points per game, he noted, “I was just making shots and hit my free throws, thankfully.”

That sentiment could be applied to Smith and Falslev as well, only in the second half. The duo was instrumental in helping the Bobcats hold off the Lions, as they scored 25 of their combined 28 points in the third and fourth quarters.

Smith did it from behind the arc, draining four three-pointers, a fact he attributed to a little bit of coaching.

“Coach told me I needed to step in,” said Smith. “I was shooting two feet behind the college (three-point) line so I stepped in, shot it like normal and they started falling.”

Falslev, the Bobcats leading scorer this season, on the other hand, did his damage from the charity stripe.

Hounded by the Lions defense all afternoon, Payson played a box and one defense where a player face guarded Falslev at all times while the others played zone, the sophomore went 8-for-11 from the free throw line in the second half.

His free throws and Smith’s long-range sniping ultimately allowed the Bobcats to fend off any and all Payson rally attempts.

With the win, Sky View advances to the semifinals, to be played Friday, March 1 at 5:50 p.m., where they will battle the Salem Hills Skyhawks.

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