ST. GEORGE — Now this is what James Brown envisioned when he planned out the season for his Snow Canyon Warriors: Pressing defense, quick and pesky guards, a dominant big man and point — lots and lots of points. For the third straight night, the run-and-gun Warriors topped the 70-point plateau, defeating Corner Canyon 77-66 Friday evening at the Jungle.
Snow Canyon actually trailed 43-34 midway through the third quarter and struggled to score with center Nate Gottfredson on the bench with three fouls. But the 6-foot-8 senior returned and sparked a 17-0 run that turned the nine-point deficit into a 51-43 lead. The run started with a Tanner Sampson 3-pointer, then another by Kade Potter and a third by Brad Gresenti. Chase Jenkins squeezed a two-pointer in during that stretch and Gottfredson cleared a couple of rebounds and blocked a shot.
“I put Nate back in and he played clean and the guys did a great job of getting him the ball,” Brown said. “We had some big shots by our guards during that stretch as well.”
The Chargers hung around, despite the big run, keeping within the 7-11-point range, but never coming any closer than that. Corner Canyon closed to within 68-61 with a minute to play, but the Warriors were money in the final 55 seconds from the free throw line. Jenkins, Mitch Frei, Warner Rigby and Travis Casey combined to go 9 for 10 on charity shots in the closing seconds.
The 77 points is the highest of the year for SC, which improved to 6-3. The Warriors have averaged 74 points a game in the last three contests, after only scoring 53 a game in the first six games of the year.
“There are a lot of reasons for the switch in tempo,” Brown said. “The biggest one is that the guys finally decided to get it to Nate more often. So many good things can happen when he has the ball. And he’s finally healthy. He was battling some heel problems early in the year. We are also pressing more and the kids are enjoying getting up and down the floor more than I thought they would. Our guards aren’t very big, so if we push the tempo, our guards won’t be overpowered by some of the bigger guards in a slower, half-court game.”
Gottfredson had 16 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and never did pick up that fourth or fifth foul. Frei also had 16 and Sampson had 11 points and nailed three 3-pointers. Hayden Anderson went for 9 points, 10 rebounds and 2 assists for Snow Canyon, which plays its fourth game in as many days Saturday against Mountain View. The Bruins and Warriors tip off at 11:45 a.m. at Burns Arena.
Corner Canyon, 2-5, was led by Michael Eberling, who had 18 points. Logan Hudson added 16 and DJ Zdunich had 11. The Chargers play at 10 a.m. against Desert Hills, also at Burns Arena.
Stats: SC 77, CC 66
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