COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Region play is an ideal time for teams to play at their best and that's what the Brighton boys basketball team did in a 66-62 win over Corner Canyon on Friday. The game opened up what is sure to be a competitive Region 7 race, with both the Bengals and Chargers expected to be at or near the top of the standings throughout league play.
One particular Bengal player performing at his best level was senior guard Adrijan Hadziselimovic who led his team with 20 points scored, with eight of those points coming in the fourth quarter. His coaches noticed, particularly one assistant coach who offered some big praise while observing from the bench.
"My assistant leaned over and told me he didn't want to jinx him, but that it was the best he's ever seen him play," said Brighton coach Garrett Wilson. "I'm so proud of him and the progress he's made. He's a true point guard for us, which is something we really need and you saw how effective he was for us tonight."
Indeed Hadziselimovic controlled just about everything from the point, effectively driving to draw contact or dishing it effectively to teammates to keep the Chargers at bay.
Setting up a fourth quarter in which Brighton was able to sustain its lead, was Ben Krystkowiak. The sophomore made true on a rare 4-point play, banking in a contested 3-pointer with just under a minute remaining in the third quarter and then followed it up with another 3-pointer, giving the Bengals a 48-43 lead entering the game's final eight minutes.
"That was big. No question. But I thought the biggest thing for us tonight was our defense," Wilson said. "Our zone has been giving opponents trouble and holding a great team like Corner Canyon to just 33 points at the half and then to continue with that defensive effort was a big thing for us."
The Chargers were led by Gabe Toombs who topped all scorers with 32 points but was held in check throughout the game's final minutes.
Helping out Hadziselimovic in the scoring department for Brighton was Luc Krystkowiak, who scored 16 along with Ben Krystkowiak's 12.
Although it was just the first game in Region 7 play, the atmosphere and the intensity of play had a unique atmosphere.Comment on this story
"It was a big game," Wilson said. "You don't want to put too much on just one game — especially this early in the year, but this was a big one. To take on a team like Corner Canyon and then come out on top — it was just a very fun game to be a part of and we were fortunate enough to get the better end tonight."
Next up for the Bengals, who improve to 10-4 with the win, is a game at Timpview next Friday. Corner Canyon falls to 8-6 with the loss and will look to rebound versus Timpview at home on Tuesday.