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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Herriman narrowly defeats Highland in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018.

There was a lot that Herriman coach Scott Briggs did not like about his team’s performance at Highland on Tuesday night.

He did not like seeing his team squander a 13-point lead or how frequently his players turned the ball over, and he definitely didn’t like seeing two missed front ends of one-and-ones in the fourth quarter.

What he did like, however, was seeing his team overcome those challengers and scrap out a 54-49 road victory to improve to 5-3 on the season.

“We were a little disappointed in how we played … but what I said to them after is the sign of a good team is finding a way to overcome those things and making big plays down the stretch, and at the end of the day we did that,” said Briggs.

Highland took its only lead of the game at 46-45 on a Chris Rich 3-pointer with under six minutes remaining, but LeGrand Burgess drained a 3-pointer a minute later to help Herriman regain the lead, something it never relinquished.

Five of Herriman’s eight games under first-year coach Briggs have been decided in the final minute, and the Mustangs are now 3-2 in those games, with wins over Northridge, Jordan and Highland.

“I know we’ll have a lot of close league games, so hopefully it helps us prepare for that so we’re not too nervous,” said Briggs, whose team has won back-to-back games, holding opponents in the 40s.

Herriman didn’t make things easy on itself in the final two minutes, with poor free-throw shooting. Those key misses at the line opened the door for a Highland comeback, but it was slightly worse from the line in the fourth quarter, making only 3 of 7.

Despite the struggles at the line for both teams, Highland still had a chance to try to tie the game in the final 20 seconds, but it missed a good look at a 3-pointer, trailing 52-49.

After that, Burgess finally knocked down some free throws to seal the win.

“When there is a new coach that comes in, there are different points of emphasis, and it’s hard for them to figure those things out. They are definitely getting better at some of the things that we want, they are better than they were three weeks ago,” said Briggs.

Jael Vaughn and Blake Freeland each scored 11 points to lead Herriman, while Highland’s Nate Warr led all scorers in the loss with 12 points.

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Vaughn got into some foul trouble in the second half, and without the point guard’s presence on the floor the offense didn’t flow as effectively.

There was a long stretch late in the first quarter and throughout the second quarter in which Herriman’s offense flowed great, however. It built a 23-10 lead early in the second quarter, and even when Highland started to get hot and knocked down some 3-pointers, it matched them as Brock Terry, Alex Anderson and Vaughn all made threes.

In the third, Highland was the much better team offensively as it rallied to tie the game at 43-43 heading into the fourth quarter.