BOUNTIFUL – The first rivalry game of the boys’ basketball season for the Bountiful Braves and Woods Cross Wildcats had all the makings of a shootout after the first quarter.
However, after some defensive adjustments made by the Braves, Bountiful ran away with the game and the victory, defending its home court in a 82-58 win.
“Usually we don’t get too high or too low about a game, but I told them after the game to enjoy this,” said Braves coach Mike Maxwell. “We can’t think about it too much because we have another game Friday, but I let them enjoy this one.”
The first quarter was a high scoring one, with 39 combined points scored between both teams. The Braves, hanging on to a five point lead after the opening frame, took all the momentum away from the Wildcats, holding them to 10 points.
The resulting defensive adjustments allowed for plenty of scoring opportunities for the Braves, who increased their lead from five to 18 points by halftime.
“We took some things away from them, and made them do some things they weren’t used to doing,” said Maxwell. “Obviously it worked because were up 20-30 real quick, and that helped us.”
The third quarter was a near repeat performance for the Braves defense. Bountiful quickly transitioned from defense to offense, going on a 12-2 run in the first two minutes of the second half.
Two minutes later, Bountiful doubled up Woods Cross by taking a 62-31 lead.
Sam Merrill and Zac Seljaas, who finished with 40 combined points, were able to open up the inside of the floor for Jeff Pollard, who posted 14 points for Bountiful.
“I love it because when they’re making shots it opens up the middle so much more,” Pollard said of playing with Merrill and Seljaas. “If I’m scoring in the middle it opens up the outside so much more and they’re able score like they did tonight.”
Maxwell had the same praise for the duo, calling it a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to have both on the team.
“You got two special players right there, and they got it going,” he said. “I gotta enjoy because it doesn’t happen; once in a lifetime maybe. We don’t get those D-I guys every year so when you get them you got to enjoy them.”
Jackson Pohlman and Xequille Harry each finished with 11 points for Woods Cross.
The Braves will remain at home Friday to face Highland. Woods Cross will be at home Friday as well, and will face Kearns.
Friday's local scores
Bountiful 72, Woods Cross 52