Through the first three quarters of Wednesday night’s Region 10 game, the Stansbury boys basketball team had been pushed around by Cedar Valley, and as a result, the Stallions found themselves trailing by eight points.
However, the fourth quarter was an entirely different story, as the Stallions picked up their defense and rebounding. Stansbury forced eight Cedar Valley turnovers in the final eight minutes and finished the game on a 17-2 run, pulling off an impressive 53-46 win over the Aviators.
“(Cedar Valley) had a game plan to be physical, and for the first three and a half quarters, it worked,” Stallions coach Joe White said. “There was a challenge to get down in (defensive) stance and don’t be victims — don’t cry about things, just get down in stance and work hard. They switched screens, they fought through screens and our second-half rebounding was great.”
Stansbury (10-8, 6-4 Region 10) began the final quarter in a 41-33 hole, but got a boost when senior Jacob White knocked down his third 3-pointer of the game to cut the lead to five points. Cedar Valley’s Cole Roberts answered with a 3 of his own to restore the Aviators’ eight-point advantage, but then the Stallions truly got things going.
Landen Giles hit a jumper from just inside the 3-point line to pull the Stallions within six points with six minutes to go, and Jacob White knocked down another 3 on Stansbury’s next trip down the floor to make it a 44-41 game. After Jackson Rose scored what proved to be the final points of the night for the Aviators (9-8, 5-5), a pair of layups by Bridger Thomas and Giles sandwiched around a Cedar Valley offensive foul put the Stallions within a point.
Cedar Valley called a timeout to try to slow the Stallions’ momentum, but it didn’t work. The Stallions got a steal and David Spaulding scored on an offensive rebound on the other end to put Stansbury in front for the first time since the midway point of the first quarter. Giles added another layup with 1:25 left in the game to put the Stallions ahead 49-46, and Stansbury forced four more Cedar Valley turnovers down the stretch and hit just enough free throws to pull away late.
“Dave Spaulding had seven steals — I don’t know how many of them were in the fourth quarter,” Joe White said. “He took away a lot of the drives and he started anticipating where that ball was going. We took advantage of that and we attacked the rim a lot harder in that fourth quarter.”
Cedar Valley looked like it might run away with the game early on, using an 11-0 run to take a 16-7 lead early in the second quarter. That’s when Jacob White came in off the bench and made an immediate impact, drawing an and-one and knocking down a 3-pointer from the left corner to pull the Stallions within five points. Later, with Stansbury trailing 25-19, he hit a free throw and drained another corner 3 to shrink Cedar Valley’s advantage to just two points.
“That was a big deal when we were struggling to score, and it couldn’t have been more timely,” Joe White said. “They were huge. I’m very proud of him.”
Jacob White finished with 18 points to lead all scorers, and Giles added 12. Spaulding and Kru Huxford each scored eight points for the Stallions, while Pae Tia had three and Thomas and Logan Richins each scored two.
“It doesn’t matter — we just kind of roll with who’s there, and the others just cheer them on,” Joe White said. “We don’t have any pouters. This is their first year where I haven’t dealt with kids complaining about playing time ever, in the 18 years I’ve been coaching high-school basketball. It’s fun to have and it’s a fun team to coach.”
Roberts and Rupper each had 13 points to lead Cedar Valley, though Rupper went scoreless for the final 12:33 and Roberts was shut out for the final 6:14 of game time.
“(Richins) picked up (Rupper) just over the halfcourt line and was quick enough and didn’t let him have (penetration),” Joe White said. “(Roberts) was getting a lot of back cuts early, and we stopped that. Our rebounding and making them take tough shots was the key. They responded to the physicality.”
Rose had 10 points, and Lincoln Roberts and Ryan Gagnier each scored five for Cedar Valley.
The Stallions will play host to Uintah in their regular-season home finale Wednesday. Their final game of the regular season is scheduled for Feb. 19 on the road against Ogden.