HYRUM – After a back-and-forth battle between the Mountain Crest and Sky View basketball teams, the Bobcats were able to pull away in the fourth quarter to beat the rival Mustangs 68-52.
“It was really physical,” senior Max Christensen said. “Everytime we come out and play our rivals, whether its football, basketball, soccer or swimming, its always going to be physical.”
Sky View senior Bryce Mortenson had 26 points in his return to the court from injury while junior Jaxon Brenchley scored 18 for the Mustangs.
“(Mortenson) stepped up to the plate tonight,” Sky View head coach Kirk Hillyard said. “He played hard, but all the guys played hard.”
Christensen said Sky View took drastic measures to stop Brenchley.
“Hats off to him,” Christensen said. “Since he was a freshman he’s been a really, really good player. He was killing us in the paint. We were going zone, he was beating our zone, so we told Alex (McRae) and Breygan (Holbrook) and those guys, ‘Make him give it up, and when he gives it up don’t let him catch it again and we’ll have your back on the other guys.’”
The game was tied at 22 with 2:54 to go in the half before back-to-back baskets by Mustangs Alex Dawson and Landon Jensen gave Mountain Crest a 27-22 lead, the biggest of the game for either team to that point. Sky View responded by ending the first half on a 6-0 run, capped off by a Luke White 3-pointer. The Bobcats entered the half leading 28-27.
Brenchley started the third quarter by scoring six points while the Mustang defense held the Bobcats to two.
“They made a run, we just kept pounding away,” Hillyard said. “We didn’t panic. We didn’t push the panic button and start jacking threes in the air. We didn’t do that tonight, we stayed true to our gameplan.”
After a timeout, Mortenson fought back. The senior scored the next seven Bobcat points to comeback and keep pace with the Mustangs. Sky View took back the lead on a Jake Hendricks steal and dunk. Mortenson’s 11-point third quarter helped the Bobcats go into the final eight minutes leading 45-41.
“Coach Sadler has been asking me to get really mad all week,” Mortenson said. “So at a timeout he said, ‘I’m coming out onto the court if you don’t start taking it to the hoop.’ So I said, ‘Coach, I’ll do what you ask.’ It ended working out for us.”
Mountain Crest started the fourth quarter with a 2-point bucket, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Bobcats McRae and Luke White gave Sky View a 51-43 lead.
“(McRae) made that shot,” Hillyard said. “I don’t know what the score was at the time, but I think it was the turning point in the game because it was a little bit deflating there.”
Mortenson and Christensen added a couple points a piece immediately after the 3-pointers. The 10-0 run gave Sky View a 55-43 lead with less than 4 minutes left in the game, allowing them to coast into the finish and improve to 5-2 in region and 10-7 overall. Mountain Crest’s record dropped in 4-3 in region and 9-8 overall.
“(Mountain Crest) scored some buckets late,” Hillyard said. “But we had enough of a cushion there that it was fine.”
Mountain Crest will travel to Clearfield next Tuesday, Sky View will return home for a Friday night matchup against Fremont.