OGDEN — Corner Canyon’s season has come to an end against Olympus in the playoffs each of the past two years, but this year the Chargers hope the third time’s the charm.
Corner Canyon eased past Highland 64-50 in the 5A quarterfinals at Weber State on Thursday night to set up a showdown with No. 1 Olympus in Friday’s semifinal at 5:50 p.m.
Coach Dan Lunt acknowledges that defending champion Olympus is the favorite, but his team played with a ton of confidence against Highland and is excited for the opportunity.
“When the season ended last year, these guys had one goal and that one goal is still there; we’ve never deviated from it. We’ve had some peaks and valleys in our season, but we’ve had one goal and that’s what we want to accomplish,” said Lunt, whose team lost in the championship game last season.
Corner Canyon trailed only once the entire game, which came in the opening minute. It was in control from the outset, pushing the lead to 25-12 points by the end of the first quarter, but Highland never wilted. It kept the deficit around 8-12 points for most of the game, and then in the fourth made a late push to cut the deficit to 51-47 with 3:37 remaining.
With Highland’s defense pressing to force a third straight Corner Canyon turnover, Gabe Toombs came up with the biggest bucket of the game. He attacked the paint, spun around a defender and converted the layup after it swirled around the rim twice before dropping.
Toombs led all scorers with 20 points, 17 of which came in the dominant first half.
“Gabe is a great scorer, he did a great job. He gets around the basketball, he gets space on the outside, he can score in a variety of ways and that’s why he’s such a tough player to guard. And then with his body size and strength, that creates even more problems,” said Lunt.
Toombs also added 13 rebounds as Corner Canyon dominated the glass with a 39-25 edge.
In Tuesday’s first round win over Wasatch, Lunt wasn’t pleased with the way his team rebounded or defended for large stretches. Neither of those areas were issues from the opening tip against Highland.Comment on this story
“I thought we did a pretty good job defensively and we did a much better job rebounding the ball, and I think anytime you show up and do the tough stuff, the energy stuff, everything else takes care of itself,” said Lunt.
“He’s had a lot of success in the state tournament, not only this year, but previous years with that 3," Lunt said. "We like him to take it."
Correction: Corner Canyon coach Dan Lunt was misidentified in a caption in an earlier version of this story.