BOUNTIFUL -- That the saying goes, "When it rains it pours."
Well, if that is the case, as the third quarter of this contest between Bountiful and Highland approached, a hurricane swept through the Bountiful High School field house and landed on the Braves' bench.
Bountiful lost 81-63.
Fouls got uglier and more aggressive, calls got more creative, the crowd got restless and the players turned from basketball to recollections of their meetings on the football field as bodies and elbows went flying.
It was no surprise that two teams with multiple football players on both sides would turn to aggressive play. From the opening tip it was clear that the key to winning a battle like this would be one thing: defense.
The Rams set their cross hairs on the Braves' leading scorer Taylor Christensen as they sent one defender to deny him the ball holding him to just four of 18 shooting on the night.
The Braves stayed with their traditional beast of a full court press to keep the bigger and stronger Rams at bay.
Both strategies seemed to pay off early as the teams ended at a 12-12 tie to close the first quarter. But the second seemed to tell a different story. While the Ram defense kept the Braves shooting at a low 35 percent, Bountiful's press broke down on the backside and allowed the Rams to get behind them for layup after easy layup. Highland found themselves up by eight at the half and shooting over 60 percent.
Then, all of the sudden, the storm moved in and the hurricane blew the game apart as nothing seemed to go right for the Braves. The third quarter saw it all as the game started to get out of hand.
With an eye popping 49 fouls called in the game, and most of those in the third and fourth quarters, frustrations mounted to an explosive peak.
This peak hit when Bountiful assistant coach McGrath, after a no call on what looked like a foul on a Highland player, jumped from his seat on the bench and said some words to the referee worthy of a technical foul. Following suit was head Coach Mike Maxwell who soon was given his own technical giving Highland four free throws, the ball, and momentum that would last the rest of the second half.
The Braves didn't exactly roll over. Coming back from deficits of up to 18 points behind Austin Bridges' three three-pointers, Bountiful got back within 11 various times. But with time running out, the Braves were forced to foul and the Rams cashed in hitting 30 of 49 free throws to Bountiful's 12 of 19.
This train wreck of a game ended in an 81-63 win for the Rams who continue to win in Region 5 play.
Bountiful, who was tied for fifth with Murray going into the game, falls to 6-7.
With just the top five teams from Region 5 going to the state tournament, they also see their hopes for post season play now looking a lot dimmer.