BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
WOODS CROSS — Hayden Grant scored 15 points and Garrett Grant and Mike Jacobsen each scored nine points as the Woods Cross Wildcats boys’ basketball team took down the Bonneville Lakers 53-43 Tuesday night.
“We showed a lot of resiliency tonight,” said first year head coach Kasey Walkenhurst. “It’s a testament to our team because they’re still learning a new system with me being a new coach. We did get down early, but we bounced back.”
Woods Cross had its back against the wall from the outset, trailing by nine after the first quarter. Bonneville’s Dakota Buckway and Carson Smith combined to score 14 of the Lakers’ 18 first-quarter points.
However, a strong second-quarter run that concluded with an 11-1 run in the final minutes of the first half helped the Wildcats tie the game at 24, taking all the momentum along with them.
Garrett Grant got the run started by hitting a pair of free throws, following a 3-pointer from Jacobsen. After another pair of made free throws from Hayden Grant, Garrett Grant and Jackson Pohlman finished the run with a basket and two more free throws before the half ended.
“That was absolutely huge,” said Walkenhurst. “We stress in practice that you win on the defensive end. We still haven’t shot the ball well so far, but you can still win games by getting stops. They scored a lot of points off the fast break in the first quarter, so we emphasized getting back and that really helped us get to the half tied.”
The Wildcats fell behind by a slim margin in the third quarter, an eight-minute period that only saw 15 total points scored between both teams. However, another strong run for Woods Cross helped put the game away for good as the Wildcats went on a 15-2 run within a six-minute span in order to take a commanding lead.
The initial run started with a pair of made free throws from Hayden Grant, giving Woods Cross a slim one-point advantage. Both Garrett and Hayden Grant scored the final four points in the third quarter for a five-point lead, then Xequille Harry and Garrett Grant made back-to-back 3-pointers to take a nine point lead.
Jacobsen hit the final 3-pointer to end the run and put the Wildcats up for good.
“That was huge in the fact that, in all my years of coaching, it’s so much easier to play with the lead,” said Walkenhurst. “The fact that we got on that run made everything else a little easier. To establish the run in the third, then to keep in going in the fourth, really helped us keep and maintain the lead.”
The majority of Woods Cross remaining points came from the free throw line as the Wildcats forced the Lakers into foul trouble.
Even with the lead, however, the Wildcats only made 4 of 10 free throw attempts in the closing minutes, something of a concern for Walkenhurst.
“It concerns me a lot,” he said. “All year we’ve shot poorly from the free throw line, but free throws are a mental game. We may practice them every day, but you got to be able to knock them down in the fourth quarter and during crunch time.”
Hayden Grant’s had two steals and one rebound to go along with his 15 points. Skyler Farnes finished with eight points and seven rebounds in the win.
Woods Cross will face the Viewmont Vikings Thursday night at 7 p.m.
“This team does work really, really, hard,” said Walkenhurst. “They come in and practice hard making shots and getting each other prepared for the next game. In the end that’s going to help us win a lot more games.”