WOODS CROSS — “That was beyond crazy.”
Those words, uttered by Woods Cross head coach Jeff Jorgensen, are the only way to accurately describe the game played between his Wildcats and the Farmington Phoenix Wednesday night at Woods Cross High School.
The Region 5 teams battled for 44 minutes of basketball, including three overtime periods. There were two dozen lead changes and ties, multiple game-saving shots and even more game-winners that came up short. Devastating fouls led to disqualifications, and momentum swings were in abundance. The contest quite simply had it all.
The Wildcats ultimately had a little bit more to give than the Phoenix in the final count, and walked away with a 72-67 victory.
Credit for the win went to nearly every Wildcat player, as different athletes showed their worth at varying moments throughout the contest.
“You know,” Jorgensen said, “that is pretty much us. We have a couple of go-to kids — Howe averages a team-high 15 points per game, Roberts 14.77 — but what we preach and what these kids are so good at is we are not concerned about who scores as long as we are getting the right shot.
“These kids understand their responsibilities. They understand their roles.”
Early in the game, that didn’t exactly appear to be the case, as the Phoenix controlled the opening quarter and did enough in the second period to hold a one point lead heading into halftime.
Jack Davis was particularly instrumental in Farmington’s hot start, with 12 first-half points.
“Credit to them,” Jorgensen said. “Farmington deserves credit for how they played.”
From the third quarter on, however, it was anyone’s game, and both teams knew it.
Powered by Roberts, with a little help from Howe and Parker McMillan, the Wildcats tied the game by the end of the third period.
In the fourth, Larsen and Spencer combined for six points, putting Woods Cross up by as many as five, the largest lead of the game.
The Phoenix battled back, though, with Kendall Draxler leading the charge. The senior guard scored six unanswered points to give Farmington a two-point lead in the waning seconds.
The game wasn’t about to end.
Roberts scored just before the final buzzer to bring on overtime.
Each overtime period had its own storyline, for each team at that, as the rivals battled.
In the first extra frame, it was Roberts and Spencer who combined to guide Woods Cross — Spencer had seven points, and Roberts three, with Roberts assisting on each Spencer score — but their efforts weren’t enough, thanks to the clutch play of Davis and Draxler.
In the second time period, it was Howe who showed out for the Wildcats, noticeably so after Roberts fouled out.
Howe’s play helped the Wildcats to another five-point lead, this one with just under 25 seconds remaining. It was then that Farmington’s Cade Grant hit back-to-back contested 3-pointers to keep the Phoenix alive.
“We did everything we wanted to do, we were on the kid, and he knocked down his second three in a row to send that thing to another overtime,” Jorgensen said. “Credit to Farmington. They did not quit. They could have, at the end of regulation, the first overtime and the second overtime, but they didn’t.”
For all of their fight, the Phoenix had no answer for Larsen in the final overtime, however.Comment on this story
The junior big man was practically unstoppable. He scored six of the Wildcats' final eight points and dominated the boards — he finished the game with nine. It was his play that lifted the Wildcats to victory.
“We have every bit of confidence in Josh Larsen,” Jorgensen said. “He plays a little bit different from Tyler, more strong, rough, but we don’t miss a beat when he is in the game.
“This team works hard,” he continued. “This is a hard-working team. We work hard on our defense. We work hard on our sets. We work hard on our rebounding and we just execute the best that we can.”
On Wednesday night, the Wildcats' best was enough.