OGDEN – The emotion of the state tournament nearly got the best of Snow Canyon Thursday morning. Thankfully, sophomore Jake Frei was immune.
Frei hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime and the Warriors survived a feisty Ben Lomond team 67-66 to advance to the state semifinals.
“My whole body’s shaking,” Chandler Gines said. “Being the first round, we didn’t want to go on that long bus ride home. You know, Jake doesn’t play like sophomore. I play with him in AAU and I think he has gained confidence from that. It’s helped him.”
Frei’s big trey came after an offensive rebound by Nate Gottfredson with 35 seconds left in the OT. The straight-on triple ended up being the only points Snow Canyon would score in the extra period, but it was just enough as Ben Lomond managed just two free throws in OT. Frei said the shot was just a matter of being prepared.
“We had a big board from Nate and he just kicked it out and I was ready to shoot,” Frei said. “Luckily enough it fell. We have some great leaders on this team like Chandler and Kallan (Webster) and they just teach us to keep working hard and we’ll win.”
The Warriors were red-hot early in the game and by midway through the second quarter had built a 30-15 lead on the Scots. But as often happens in basketball, the big lead led to a little complacency for Snow Canyon.
In the meantime, Ben Lomond started to warm up. Behind the dead-eye shooting of Sterling Brandley and Josh Hardin, the Scots cut the SC lead to 41-36 at the half. With the Warriors struggling on offense, BL went on a 13-2 to close out the third quarter that turned a 46-38 Warriors lead into a 51-48 Scots lead heading into the final quarter.
Ben Lomond would hold that lead virtually the entire fourth quarter, pushing it out to as big as five points at 57-52 with just over four minutes left.
Frei, who finished with 20 points to lead his team, hit a 3-pointer with 4:11 to go to make it 57-55, but the Scots were hot at the line and pushed the lead back out to five at 63-58 with 1:28 to go.
“I don’t know how they did it, but they won,” coach James Brown said of his team. “We certainly gave ourselves opportunities not to win. Ben Lomond did a tremendous job.”
Gines hit a bucket with 1:20 to go and the Warriors put on the full-court press. Trapped in the back-court, Ben Lomond was whistled for a 10-second violation by one official. At the other end of the court, the second official simultaneously granted the Scots a time out. The referees ruled the time out came just before the violation call, which forced SC to foul Trey Scott with 1:05 to play. The BL point guard missed the shot and Gines scored again to make it 63-62 with 45 seconds to go.
Snow Canyon then fouled Brandley, who made one of two with 39 seconds to go. Needing a two to tie, SC went for the win, but a 3-pointer missed. Gottfredson was there for the rebound and put-back to tie the game with 20 seconds to go.
The Warriors got a steal in the closing seconds, but Gines was called for a charge as the potential game-winner went through the basket with the clock reading zero.
Neither team could get the lid off the basket in the four-minute overtime. Sage Eastburn hit a free throw 90 seconds in to make it 65-64 and Brandley also hit 1 of 2 to make it 66-64 with 1:54 to play.
After a Snow Canyon miss, Ben Lomond tried to stall, but lost the ball, setting up Frei’s heroics. The Scots had two chances in the final 30 seconds after the Warriors missed free throws, but missed on the first possession and Kallan Webster got an offensive rebound with under five seconds to go to seal the win.
“We came out and never thought we were gonna lose,” Gottfredson said. “We’ve gotta correct some things and be more consistent and keep winning.”
Snow Canyon owned the boards in the game (34-23), with Gottfredson collecting 10 to go with his 14 points. The Warriors made half of their 3-pointers in the first half (7-14), but only hit 3 of 14 after halftime.
Foul trouble plagued the Warriors all night and they sent the Scots to the line 32 times (Ben Lomond made 21 for 66 percent). Snow Canyon was just 3 of 8 from the line in the game.
The Warriors, 15-6, advance to the 3A State Semifinals Friday night at 7:30 p.m against Bear River. Ben Lomond, 14-10, got 22 points from Brandley and 16 from Hardin. The Scots will play a consolation game at 4:10 p.m. Friday afternoon vs. Judge Memorial.
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