Snow Canyon failed to prove much in the first half as the Wasps run-n-gun style effectively flustered the Warriors. Fortunately, a half time pep talk by Snow Canyon Coach James Brown invigorated the Warriors (6-2) and propelled them to a 54-47 win led by Ben Smith’s break-out shooting night.
Smith came into the game averaging seven points a game, but he well surpassed that by finishing as his team’s leading scorer with 17. After the game, Smith credited Coach Brown’s halftime speech.
“He (Coach Brown) went into the locker room and said we had to step it up,” Smith said. “He … got the team going and we came out and went on a good run.”
Brown’s halftime speech lit a fire under the Warriors, who entered the half with only 14 points on the scoreboard.
“We weren’t attacking them on offense,” Brown Said. “I told them we’ve got to be more assertive offensively by seeing the open guy, setting good screens and just be more physical.”
The Warriors responded with a 19-point third quarter, entirely erasing their ugly first half. Wasatch helped the Warriors cause by missing a myriad of fast-break layups, went without a field goal for the first four minutes of the second half, and committed a few careless fouls. By that point the momentum had shifted into Snow Canyon’s favor. The Warriors finished the third quarter with a 33-26 lead going into the fourth.
The Wasps (2-6) did not quit though and made a run at the beginning of the fourth, sparked by a monster reverse-dunk by 3A’s top-scorer Matt Pelo. His dunk preceded six quick points for the Wasps. Converting off a series of Warriors’ turnovers, the Wasps quickly cut the Warriors’ lead to five points provoking Snow Canyon to stop the action.
After a timeout, the Warriors regrouped. Brayden Linde and Chandler Gines sparked an answer by way of a Warriors’ run stemming from hustle plays—a pair of steals and some timely offensive rebounds. Guard Ben Smith supported his teammates’ hustle with a throng of beautiful jumpers and free throws. Smith was clutch from the stripe, making 5 of 6 free throws late in the fourth icing the game for Snow Canyon.
Smith received accolades from his coach after the game. “He’s just very balanced and under control and always understands where he’s supposed to be,” Coach Brown said. “He’s a good little shooter. He has a great head fake and he’s good from the free throw line.”
Though the Wasps made a desperate run during the last minute of the game, the Warriors showed determination by continuing to compete all the way to the buzzer. “Our kids battle their butts off,” Coach Brown said. “They just give you everything they’ve got.”
Though Wasatch did not earn a win, they did improve on their previous game’s abysmal shooting percentage, perhaps regaining shooting confidence for good. Pelo finished with 20 points (his average) and Zach Watts contributed 17 for the Wasps. The Wasps also showed some of their defensive clout, finishing with a whopping 14 steals.
Snow Canyon out-rebounded Wasatch 30 to 17 with Ben Gottfredson leading with nine boards. He also scored 11 points for the Warriors. Brayden Linde had 10 points and seven rebounds, while Chandler Gines scored nine.
The Warriors can’t rest as they wrap up three games in three days Thursday at 6:30PM against 4A powerhouse Timpview.
OTHER ACTION ON WEDNESDAY INCLUDED:
Parowan 8—14—9—9 < 40
Salem Hills 21—4—11—12 < 48
Timpview 8—10—8—12 < 38
Bountiful 17—4—12—18 < 51
Lehi 13—19—3—20 < 55
Hurricane 11—14—18—23 < 66
Viewmont 0—0—0—0 < 51
Desert Hills 0—0—0—0 < 61