<strong>PAYSON -</strong> The Bears escaped Payson and the Lions Den with a 67-60 win. The Bears jumped out to a 18-11 lead in the first quarter and built a 10 point lead at half.
Payson kept with the Bears in the 2nd half and trimmed what was a 15 point deficit to seven late in the 4th quarter. Wade Miller put on a shooting clinic, scoring 30 points and Garret Fronk finished with 12.
Daniel Reno scored 25 for Payson and Caleb Wright had 17. Payson kept it close throughout the first two quarters and with five seconds remaining in the half Reno hit a 3 from NBA range, cutting the lead for the Bears down to seven.
But with just a couple of seconds left, Lane Bittner threw up a half court shot that banked in and gave the Bears a 10 point lead going into halftime. It was just that kind of night for Bear River who are now on their way to the Elite 8 3A State Tournament for the first time in four years.
Bear River will play Judge, who beat Dixie 54-40, next Thursday, Feb. 21 at Weber State University. Game time is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. and will be broadcast on 104.9 in Box Elder County and streamed online at kix96fm.com.