<strong>LOGAN—</strong> Despite starting the game down 10-0, region leader Mountain Crest defeated valley-rival Logan, 58-55. After starting the season 3-4, the Mustangs have now rallied to win nine in a row and are a perfect 6-0 in Region 5 play.
Mustang senior Tyler Crosbie led all scorers 23 points including some big free throws down the stretch. Faimafili Laulu-Pututau added 20 more for MC. The Grizzlies were led by senior Luke Falk and junior Taylor Compton who each tallied 14 points.
With the help of a raucous home crowd, Logan started the game hot while Mountain Crest looked out of sorts on offense and didn’t score for the first five minutes of play. Laulu-Pututau completed a three-point-play to give MC its first points with just 2:46 left in the quarter. After settling into a rhythm, the Mustangs reeled off a quick 11 points to get back in the game, but still trailed Logan 15-11 at the end of the first.
“We certainly didn’t start off the game and you’ve got to give Logan all of the credit for that,” MC head coach Graydon Buchmiller said. “They definitely came out more energized, more physical and they looked like they knew what they wanted to do. We didn’t. We can’t afford to let that stuff happen again. I didn’t think we broke, I think that was a big thing. We kept our composure for the most part throughout the game, and we just had this belief that no matter what we were going to find a way. And that’s just what we did.”
Just two minutes into the second quarter, MC took its first lead of the game. Logan however, didn’t let the Mustang run continue. Falk hit a 3-pointer with three seconds left in the half to send the teams to the locker rooms with the Grizzlies leading, 31-26.
“We challenged our guys,” Buchmiller said of the halftime break. “We’ve spent a lot of time on defense in practice. It kind of went to the pride of us for them to hit that many shots on us. We were playing hard. There’s no doubt that at halftime our kids were feeling it a little bit, but we still had to challenge them. We had to play them a little tighter and close out to people a little better.”
The score remained close throughout the third and fourth quarters. With 1:49 to play Laulu-Pututau completed another three-point-play to put the Mustangs up by four. Logan answered with a bucket of its own before sending Crosbie to the line. From that point it was a game of free throws.
“It’s been a work in progress (hitting free throws towards the end.) I’m proud to see it,” Buchmiller said. “You expect that from leaders and guys that have certain goals at the end of games. At the end of games you sit down and knock down free throws and we’ve been able to do that for the last couple of games and that’s made a difference for us.”
With six seconds on the clock, MC senior Jamison Webb sunk two free throws to put the Mustangs up 57-52. The game appeared to be over but Logan rushed down the court and Compton – who has shown a flair for the dramatic this season – banked in a 3-pointer, making it a two point game with just two seconds on the clock.
Mountain Crest inbounded the ball and Crosbie took a few dribbles before being fouled with one second left on the clock. Crosbie sunk just 1-of-2 free throws, but Logan missed a full-court desperation 3-pointer as Mountain Crest escaped with the win.
“(Crosbie) is a senior and he has a determined focus,” Buchmiller said. “You expect that from your big time players that they go out and seize those moments. And I think Ty did that quite a bit for us tonight.”
Logan has had their fair share of close games lately. Since an 11 point loss to Morgan, the Grizzlies have had their last five games decided by three points or less, which may say more about them than their 2-4 region record. Two of those games went into overtime.
“I really felt that Logan, next to us, they are the hottest team in the region,” Buchmiller said. “They are putting up great numbers. They’ve got a lot of kids scoring with confidence. They are very tough to defend. They’re athletic, and I know their record doesn’t show it right now, but I still feel like they are a pretty hot team.”
Mountain Crest travels to Roy next Friday, Feb. 8. The Royals are 5-1 in region play with their only loss coming at the hands of the Mustangs.
Logan heads to Sky View that same day to face a Bobcats team seeking revenge. Logan beat Sky View in the first game of the season between the two teams as Compton hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Grizzlies a one point victory. The Bobcats are 3-3 in region play.