Forget the fact that Bountiful was playing for a state championship last Saturday.
And never mind the game after that. Lone Peak’s fourth consecutive state title in the 5A classification was nothing but a foregone conclusion before the game even tipped off.
That is, unless you’re a fan of Lone Peak.
What transpired in the 4A state boys’ basketball championship between the Braves and the Orem Tigers was as dramatic a game as I’ve seen for a state championship in quite some time.
At least in the annals of high school basketball.
This game had it all: a powerhouse going up against a don’t-call-us-cinderella team, a Braves squad that didn’t drop a game in the State of Utah Рopting to take its one and only loss from a California-based team in Las VegasР against a team that started the season 3-6 before claiming a Region 7 crown.
And then the game started.
It initially had all the makings of an “oh, no” reaction once the Braves fell behind 14-9 and struggled with its shooting in the first quarter, but the game never got further away from one team or another after that point.
In fact, neither team was ahead by more than four or five points from that point onward.
The crowd had even more “oh, no” moments once Bountiful was called for a five-second violation, and again when Orem had a chance to essentially win the game from the free-throw line with two seconds left in the game.
To one side’s surprise, and the other side’s relief, both attempts clanked off the rim. Bountiful rebounded, tossed the ball high in the air, and the bench rushed the court at the final buzzer.
It was one of the craziest endings to a championship game that I’ve ever seen in person.
It was likely the best game of the bunch as well, and I’m glad I got to be a part of it.
Most of the players I had a chance to talk to afterwards were relieved that this title was theirs. After their heart-wrenching loss to Sky View last year, this year’s team was poised and ready to move ahead.
Get better, learn from their mistakes, and move on.
It worked. Bountiful lost just once. They ran-sacked through the region schedule, made their first round opponent look like a Junior Varsity squad, and finished the season with a 22-game winning streak.
Did I mention they also finished the regular season by scoring 106 points?
Yes, that actually happened. I wasn’t there for that game (nor the game where Woods Cross put up 99 points last season), but it served as a sign of things to come for the Bountiful’s future opponents.
If you missed any part of the 4A championship game, I feel bad for you.
You really did miss a good one.