Copper Hills dismantled a surging Tooele boys basketball team 75-43 Wednesday night with fastbreak baskets, strong rebounding and solid shooting from beyond the 3-point line.
Tooele had won five of its last six games before facing the 5A Grizzlies at home. After the loss, the Buffaloes sit at 7-6 on the season.
“The guys have been excited about winning, but they were getting a little too comfortable, figuring they could just show up and win. This game will be good for us if we learn from it, if we learn that we need to be prepared and ready to play every game,” said Tooele coach Shawn Faux.
Copper Hills certainly was ready.
The Grizzlies jumped out to an 8-2 lead to start the game and led 16-7 after one quarter.
It looked like the Buffaloes might make a game of it to start the second quarter when Ace Hymas muscled in a shot and then scored a 3-point play with a basket and a made foul shot. But the Grizzlies kept up the pressure and surged out to a 29-12 lead midway through the second period.
Justin Pollman scored five straight points with two foul shots and two baskets to draw the Buffaloes back within 11 at 29-18 with 2:36 until intermission.
Tyler Lawrence connected on a 3-pointer to keep the visitors’ lead at 11, and it looked like the Buffaloes would trail by only 12 at intermission. But Copper Hills responded with a 3-pointer with 5 seconds left in the first half to give the Grizzlies a 39-24 lead at the break.
Three-point shooting hurt the Buffaloes Wednesday night. Copper Hills hit on 7-of-17 attempts, while the Buffaloes sank 1-of-9.
Conner Searle, Nick Schwartzman and Hymas were strong on the offensive boards, grabbing 12 offensive rebounds among them. But the big guys were not as effective converting the rebounds into baskets, shooting around 30 percent. Tooele’s team field goal shooting was dismal at 29 percent compared to 57 percent for the Grizzlies.
The Buffaloes had a glimmer of hope early in the second half. It started when Ryan Brady zipped a perfect pass to Pollmann for an easy basket, followed by a basket from Searle. The quick baskets forced a timeout from Copper Hills early in the third quarter. The Grizzlies regrouped and outscored Tooele 15-4 in the final six minutes of the third quarter to lead 58-32.
Copper Hills outscored Tooele 17-11 in the final quarter to push the final to 75-43.
Pollmann scored 12, Lawrence 8, Hymas 7, Searle 4, Brady 3 and Colton Schofield 3.
“Copper Hills is a good 5A team, but we’re a better team than we showed tonight. They’re not 32 points better than we are,” Faux said.