OGDEN — Jordan coach Trace Bevell has a goal to hold opponents under 51 points, with the belief if his team does just that, it will most likely come away with a win. Against East on Friday during the semifinal round of the state playoffs, allowing one point over the goal worked just fine, however, with Jordan coming away with a 60-52 win.
The good news was of the 52 points allowed, just 20 were yielded in a second half where the Beetdiggers locked down and punched their way through to the state championship game, where it will take on rival Corner Canyon.
"We refocused at halftime and communicated better," Bevell said. "They were tougher than we were and they wanted it more than we did (in the first half), and we just came out in the second half and played better."
While the team effort was what won out on the defensive end, it was Jordan forward Dyson Koehler who did the heavy lifting on the offensive end.
After scoring just 4 points in the first half, Koehler played big throughout the second, finishing with 22 points while forcing much of the action as his team came back in the third and then rolled through the fourth.
"He's too unselfish at times," Bevell said of Koehler. "He's got to be demanding the ball. … Coach-led teams are good teams, but player-led teams are great teams."
East led for most of the first half, up as many as 9 points midway through the second quarter, before taking a 32-25 lead into the break. Leading the way for the Leopards in the first half was guard Taylor Zwick, and his 12 points over the first 16 minutes of play. Also playing big for the Leopards was the front-court duo of Kok Daw and Andrew Mulibea, who each scored 8 points with Daw pulling down six rebounds.
The Beetdiggers cut into the Leopards lead in the third quarter before catching them at 36-36 around the three-minute mark. Key to the third quarter play for Jordan was Koehler, who was active on the boards and scored 7 of of his team's 14 third quarter points.Comment on this story
As mentioned, Jordan rolled in the final period with a key 8-0 run late that culminated into a 55-47 lead with just over two minutes remaining, all but sealing the win.
Jordan will now turn to take on a team it's very familiar with in hopes of winning it all on Saturday.
"It's huge. It's big for the program and it's big for these kids," Bevell said of reaching the championship game. "It's big for the seniors that have put in the time to get better. We haven't played real well, but we're here."