Tooele led by as many as eight, but a late defensive stand gave Grantsville its third-straight rivalry win in a 63-59 thriller on Saturday in the Utah Autism Foundation Holiday Classic at Olympus High School.
Grantsville mixed a zone defense with its regular man-to-man look, holding Tooele without a field goal for the first 5:38 of the fourth quarter and a 14-2 run.
“We were just switching it on up, every time there was a chance to switch it up, I think that’s what paid off,” Grantsville head coach Bryan Detweiler said. “We just kept switching on up, and once we got them on their heels, once we got the lead, it was like, ‘here we go.’”
Senior forward Brady Arbon had seven of his game-high 19 points in that stretch, and senior guard Kevin Roberts hit a pair of free throws with six minutes remaining that gave Grantsville its first lead of the game at 49-48.
“We just turned the ball over like seven straight times, which is very out of character for us,” Tooele head coach Josh Johnsen said. “Teams have been zoning us all year and it’s been fine for us, but we just panicked and got out of our element. That’s a credit to coach Det; he did a good job with that. We were up the whole game and then he made that adjustment, and then we just didn’t execute.”
Grantsville extended the lead to six points before Tooele senior guard Dawson Banks made a layup on a cut to the basket with 2:22 left, but Grantsville made 15 of 18 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
Twice within the final 90 seconds, Tooele seemed to earn needed turnovers on loose balls, but Grantsville called timeout both times to retain possession.
Tooele senior forward Kyler Hymas and senior guard Mitchell Bunn gashed the Cowboys for 16 points apiece. Bunn scored 12 in the first half alone as part of a hot-shooting streak that put Tooele up 25-17 with four minutes left in the second quarter. Hymas seemed unstoppable on the drive in the second half, getting to the foul line for six of his 10 third-quarter points.
“It’s been a real rollercoaster of emotions this week, and we ended up on a high,” Detweiler said. “I’ll take that.”
Offensively, much of Grantsville’s production came from the charity stripe in the second half. Roberts was perfect from the line for half of his 12 points, and senior guard Ryan Potter — who had one field goal in his 13-point game — missed only once. As a team, Grantsville shot 73 percent from the free-throw line, including 18 of 23 in the second half.
Bunn fouled out with two minutes to go, and Banks — who chipped in 12 points for the designated home team — did the same in the final minute.
“I just think maybe we just got back to playing Cowboy basketball,” Detweiler said. “This team’s got some fight in them.”
Detweiler tweaked his starting lineup for the rivalry game, giving the nod to senior Jake Hammond.
The win was Detweiler’s fifth in his seven meetings with Tooele as head coach in Grantsville.
The Cowboys (9-5) will next face Merit Academy (0-8) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at home. Tooele (2-5) will begin region play at Ogden (1-7) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Desert Hills 53, Grantsville 34
The Cowboys turned the ball over eight times each during the first and fourth quarters, letting Desert Hills outscore them by a combined 27-9 during those two stretches.
“That was embarrassing,” Detweiler said.
Gransville was held without a field goal during the first 9:32, giving Desert Hills a 16-3 lead.
Once the ice finally broke, however, Grantsville played its way back into the game.
Starting with a putback layup by sophomore forward Jackson Sandberg with 6:28 left in the first half, the Cowboys went on a 21-5 run that spanned a little more than eight minutes. Sandberg had eight points during that stretch, tying the game at 21-all with another putback a minute into the third quarter.
Senior guard Dylan Defa gave Grantsville its only lead of the night 40 seconds later, hitting a 3-pointer after a Thunder turnover.
Desert Hills promptly went on a 17-3 run to close the third quarter.
Grantsville 74, Park City 62
Potter tied a season-high 20 points as the Cowboys beat Park City.
“He’s been playing a lot tougher, getting to the line,” Detweiler said of his senior guard. “He’s been playing through contact a lot tougher. He’s one of our better free throw shooters.”
The Cowboys made 13 of 14 free throws in the final quarter to hold off a late Park City run and preserve the win.
Park City head coach Michael Doleac said his team needed to fix the little things to earn a win.
“We’ve got to take care of the ball better, be in our spots better,” he said. “We’re young, we’re getting there. I think we lack a little bit of confidence. Grantsville just played a little bit tougher and stronger. They were the more aggressive team; they wore us down.”
Author’s note: Tavin Stucki has covered prep sports in Utah for more than nine years. This story was not subject to the approval of the Grantsville basketball program.