PRESTON – The Mustangs found themselves in a frantic fourth quarter where a 12 point lead was cut to just 5 with 16 seconds left, but two missed 3-pointers from Century ended the threat and gave Mountain Crest a 49-44 win. Coach Anderson’s squad got their first win of the season to open the second day of the Indian Classic Tournament thanks to a hot stretch to start and end the first half.
Mountain Crest lost in the opening round of the Preston Tournament due in large part to a six minute scoring drought in the middle of the game against Bonneville. The Mustangs played strong in the fourth quarter Thursday and carried that momentum into the start of the game against Century. They started the game on an 11-0 run in the first three minutes and led 12-3 after one and forced five Diamondback turnovers. Century didn’t score their first points until 2:33 left in the opening period.
The second period was much more even but the Mustangs used a 5-0 run over the last 90 seconds to take a 27-15 lead into half time, led by the 17 combined points from Myles Andrus and Mason Baldwin. Coach Anderson’s squad also played a much cleaner game with only one turnover in the first half, after combining for 27 total in the last two games. Mountain Crest looked much more energized to start the game and really frustrated the Diamondback offense while hitting six first half 3 pointers.
Coach Ryan Frost’s Diamondbacks were able to make adjustments in the second half and switched to more full court press and aggressive man-to-man defense that caused Mountain Crest issues. The Mustangs had 8 turnovers in the second half – 5 in the fourth quarter – as a 12 point lead with just over a minute left almost vanished.
The Mustangs led 49-37 with 1:11 left but turned it over on three straight possessions as Emmett Holt took over for Century and nearly mounted the comeback. Holt went 4-4 from the foul line and finished with 9 points in the quarter. Leading Mustang scorer Marshall Nethercott missed four free throws in the last minute, including two when his team was up 49-44 with 16 seconds left. Holt got two looks from deep, including a wide open left shoulder 3, but the Diamondbacks ran out of magic and couldn’t trim the lead anymore.
Coach Anderson’s squad played only eight players but went most of the way with a seven man rotation. Nethercott led the team with 13 points, Baldwin had 11 and Andrus finished with 9. Foul trouble was a bit of an issue for the shorter Mountain Crest rotation with Century hitting the bonus with 6:52 left in the fourth. The Diamondbacks couldn’t take complete advantage with only six free throw attempts in the fourth, but did go 13-14 for the game. A huge advantage for Century was the Mustangs struggling from the charity stripe, hitting only 5-12 after making a solid 22-31 in their previous two games.
Green Canyon beat Star Valley 70-49 in the second game of the consolation bracket which should have meant an all Region 11 fifth place game, but the coaches decided to split them up so they didn’t play outside of region. Mountain Crest gets Star Valley in the second game Saturday while Green Canyon takes on Century.