The Grantsville Cowboys held an opponent to under 40 points for the 10th time this season on their way to a 49-31 victory over the Ben Lomond Scots on Friday.
Defeating Ben Lomond moved the Cowboys to just win away from securing a home playoff game in the first round of the state tournament and also closer to winning the region championship.
“We’ve got two more wins to accomplish our goal,” said GHS coach Chris Baker. “You win Wednesday and you’re guaranteed that home playoff game so that’s the big win. This one was the big one going into tonight, but now Wednesday is the big one.”
Grantsville’s win against Ben Lomond may have been its most balanced of the season. No Cowboy scored in double figures, but several role players stepped up with better-than-normal nights, and everyone got involved with the defensive prowess. Devin Adams led the defense with four steals, followed by Dallin Williams and Nick Arbon with two each, and Jake Riding, Devon Arellano and Braden Sandberg with one each.
“We had lots of guys step up — Braden (Sandberg), Arellano played well. They tried boxing Adams the whole time, and we just had to rely on other guys making buckets,” Baker said. “Jake (Riding) had some good jumpers. We did lots of good things.”
Baker said Riding sets the defensive tone for the whole team.
“He is just as important as anybody we have on this team,” Baker said. “He knows it, the team knows it, and so some of the things he does don’t show up in the box score all the time, but he’s huge for us. He made a couple of open jumpers, and defensively he did his thing.”
Riding said the Cowboys’ game plan revolved around getting out and running the floor because Ben Lomond wanted to play zone defense in the half court.
“We tried to get the ball out and run it so we could score more points instead of having low scoring,” Riding said. “Play defense and don’t let their shooters score — that’s why we went box a lot.”
And stop the scorers is precisely what Grantsville did. No Ben Lomond player scored more than seven points in the game.
Baker said he was nervous about Friday’s game beforehand because he knew Ben Lomond had been playing better and pushing opponents to the brink.
“They do a lot of schemes,” he said. “Even when they were really good and we weren’t very good, we’d have games in the 20s because they scheme a lot, and then you’re nervous about senior night, and then you’re nervous about the kids looking past to Tooele and Stansbury because they’re always going to get up for those games. It was one of those games that I was really nervous about all day.”
Baker said the first quarter confirmed his anxiety; the Scots led 12-9 going into the second quarter after a 3-pointer at the buzzer gave them the lead. But then the Cowboys turned it around right away and took a 27-16 lead into halftime — an 18-4 run in the second quarter.
The Scots chipped away at the lead during the third quarter, getting as close as six points at 32-26, but Grantsville made sure to keep its distance. Williams dished a pass over to Sandberg, who knocked down a 3-pointer before the end of the period.
Leading by nine points to start the fourth quarter, Grantsville extended out its lead to pull away for the 18-point win.
Grantsville next hosts Stansbury on Wednesday at 7 p.m. with a chance to secure a home playoff game. Grantsville will earn that home playoff game with a win against Stansbury or a loss by Tooele against Bear River.