Clipper Sports Editor
BOUNTIFUL – The Bountiful Braves boys’ basketball team had a strong first and fourth quarter of offense against Woods Cross Friday night, outscoring the Wildcats 39-17 in that time.
The pair of strong quarters was enough to eventually give the Braves their 12th straight win. Bountiful downed Woods Cross 62-48 Friday night.
“Right now it’s all about winning region games,” said Braves’ coach Mike Maxwell. “During the preseason you want to make sure your team is doing all the right things, and then start to get things together as a team when region play starts. Right now we’re 4-0 (in region) and we’re playing well at the right time.”
Bountiful’s first quarter was strong on both offense and defense. The Braves held the Wildcats to 10 points in the quarter, all while scoring 21 to take the initial lead in the game.
The Braves started with an 8-0 run, thanks to 3-point plays from Nate Pollard and Pere LeSeuer, and another basket by Mosese Manu, to jump to an eight-point lead.
Zach Seljaas ended the strong scoring quarter for Bountiful by hitting three consecutive baskets, giving the Braves a 21-10 first quarter lead.
“We played really well to start the game,” said Maxwell. “And we played really well in the end. It was the middle two periods where we got off track. But that’ll happen when you get into these rivalry games. There are ebbs and flows all the time, and rivalry games are no different. I think our play in the middle of the floor helped us out as well.”
Momentum swung in Woods Cross’ favor in the next two quarters when the Wildcats outscored the Braves 31-23, cutting the deficit from 11 points to three points. They took the lead briefly.
Skyler Farnes kicked off the second quarter with a 3-point play early on, a play that started what eventually turned into a 12-1 run for the Wildcats. Farnes, Garrett Grant, Xequille Harry and Filipo Mokofisi each had a hand in the run, and the Wildcats trailed by four points after the first half.
The game took on an intensity all its own when the lead for Bountiful quickly disappeared in the third quarter. A pair of 3-pointers from Jackson Pohlman early in the third gave the Wildcats a slim, and brief, one-point lead before Bountiful bounced back to regain the lead later in the quarter.
Both teams traded baskets throughout, but Bountiful’s lead shrank to three points entering the fourth quarter. Maxwell said afterward he didn’t say anything to the team about losing the slim lead.
“If you’re going to be a championship team, you have to learn to play from behind once in a while,” he said. “Even if it’s a small deficit, they know they have to get back, play defense, and trust one another and everything will take care of itself.”
The Braves’ defense held the Wildcats to just seven points in the final quarter, all of which came in the final minute of the game. Bountiful easily pulled away from Woods Cross in the final frame.
Nate and Jeff Pollard started the Braves on a 9-0 scoring run to start the quarter, and the Braves’ finished the game by scoring 60 or more points as a team for the 10th time this season.
“Nate was big for us in the middle of the floor tonight,” said Maxwell. “He was up and down the floor, scoring baskets, crashing the boards, and playing well defensively. He played a great game and we did really well to win this one tonight.”
GAME NOTES: For Bountiful, Nate Pollard finished with 11 points and six rebounds for the Braves, and Sam Merrill led the team with a game-high 14 points in the win. LeSeuer and Seljaas finished with 10 and 13 points, respectively. For Woods Cross, Pohlman and Farnes each scored nine points and Brady Cowley added eight points in the loss.