Desperate for a win, the Ogden boys basketball team wasn’t about to let Tooele senior center Justin Rogers dominate on Wednesday as he has so many other teams this season.
Someone else was going to have to beat the Tigers. And, someone else did.
Tooele junior forward Julian Mahoe scored a career-high 28 points, including 12 of the Buffaloes’ 22 points in the third quarter, to propel THS to a 55-48 win at Tooele High School. The victory allowed the Buffs (9-9, 5-3 Region 10) to keep pace with Uintah and Stansbury in the race for second place in the Region 10 standings.
Ogden (2-12, 0-7) led 23-22 at halftime, getting a pair of late 3-pointers from Bret VanTassell and Izzy Russell just before the end of the second quarter. The Tigers were unable to carry any momentum from that late surge, as a putback layup by Mahoe and another layup from Pacesen McLaws off a feed from Rogers put the Buffs up 26-23 just over a minute into the third quarter.
Tooele never trailed again after that point, and after Ogden briefly tied the game at 28-28, the Buffs took full control with a 16-2 run over the final five-plus minutes of the quarter. Mahoe scored eight points during Tooele’s surge, while Rogers had six and Trevor Zaleski added a mid-range jumper. Mahoe capped the run with an open layup just before the buzzer on a pass from Brock Beer to put the Buffs ahead 44-30.
The Buffs maintained their double-digit advantage well into the fourth quarter, quieting an early Ogden run with a corner 3-pointer by senior Carston Hyre that put THS ahead 51-37 with just over three minutes left. A few late fouls by the Buffs allowed the Tigers to carve into the lead in the final seconds, but Tooele was never truly threatened down the stretch.
It was a struggle early on for the Buffaloes, who fell behind 11-6 in the first quarter thanks to a 9-2 Ogden run that culminated in an and-one by guard Brady Warner. Tooele scored the next six points on a pair of Mahoe free throws, a baseline jumper by McCade Laughlin and a putback layup by Rogers, but a basket by Ogden’s Landon Kimber gave the Tigers a 13-12 lead after one. The lead switched hands four times in an evenly matched second quarter, with neither team leading by more than three points.
Rogers was the only other Tooele player in double-figures with 10 points as Ogden tried to deny him the ball. Hyre had four points, Zaleski and McLaws each had four and Laughlin finished with two.
Kimber led the Tigers with 14 points. Warner and Jace Oliverson each scored nine.
Tooele will face Ben Lomond in a Region 10 game Friday night in Ogden. The Buffs will travel to Draper for a matchup against region-leading Juan Diego on Feb. 12 before hosting Cedar Valley in their regular-season home finale Feb. 17.