ROOSEVELT — There might be a little something to this Warrior magic after all.
Snow Canyon, playing in the final games of long-time head coach James Brown’s career, kept the season alive for at least another six days by shocking No. 1-seed Union 55-42 Friday night on the Cougars own court.
“I told our guys that the pressure was on Union, that they were supposed to win as the No. 1 seed,” Snow Canyon coach James Brown said. “We just needed to come up here and enjoy the experience and play like we’ve been taught and we did.”
Justin Loveless led the way with 16 points as the Warriors grabbed the lead late in the second quarter in dramatic fashion, and ended up never trailing again.
Down 22-19 with 1:30 to go in the half, SC got a free throw each from Brock Staheli and TJ Taimi to cut it to 22-21. Taimi rebounded his miss on his second free throw, which came with nine seconds left in the half. The Warriors then kicked it out to Caeden Barney, who hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to make it 24-22 SC at the half. It was Barney’s first 3-pointer of the season.
A quick 12-4 run to start the third quarter gave Snow Canyon its first double-digit lead at 36-26 and the Cougars would not get closer than seven the rest of the game.
“I thought we did a really good job of being patient against their zone, sharing the ball and waiting for a good shot,” Brown said. “We didn’t shoot free throws well in the first three quarters, but they were huge in the fourth quarter. I think we were 13 for 17 in the fourth.”
Loveless, a 6-foot-7 senior center, started the game with a couple of baskets in the paint and then made four straight free throws down the stretch to help secure the win. Staheli added 12 points and Taimi added nine as the Warriors improved to 10-12 on the year and earned a spot in the state quarterfinals.
Snow Canyon will play Thursday at 11:10 a.m. against the winner of Saturday evening’s Bear River at Richfield contest. The Warriors lost at Richfield (48-37) earlier this season and have not played Bear River.
As for that Warrior magic, Brown said you just never know.
“There might be a little of that in there,” he said. “Or maybe we’re just late bloomers. We didn’t come into the season in the best of shape and where we needed to be. We’re just now starting to get into a groove, into the flow. The kids trust each other. Who knows, maybe we do have a little run left in us.”
Union, the Region 10 champion, was led by Trevor Allred’s 11 points. The Cougars end the season with a 13-11 record.
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