After a first quarter stalemate, Bear River powered its way past Tooele 85-61 Wednesday in Garland.
The Buffaloes don’t have much time to lick their wounds with the other Region 11 leader Grantsville (6-1) on deck in Tooele on Friday.
“Our goal is to go give Grantsville all we have, and get our momentum and swagger back for the state playoffs,” said Tooele coach Shawn Faux.
Tooele matched Bear River’s energy and efficiency in the opening quarter and trailed 15-14 on senior night in Garland. It was the final regular season game for the Bears, who finished at the top of the Region 11 standings at 7-1. Tooele dropped to 3-4 in league play.
The Bears pulled away in the second quarter on three-straight 3-point baskets by Landon Cornwall in a one-minute span. With 4:28 left in the first half, Bear River led 31-17 thanks to Cornwall’s torrid shooting. He ended the game with 20 points and four 3-pointers.
Tooele responded to keep within striking distance. Justin Pollmann drilled a 3-pointer from the corner, and Tyler Lawrence continued a hot-shooting first half with a short jumper and 3-pointer to trim the lead back to 10. The Buffaloes narrowed the lead to eight on a short jumper by Ryan Brady, but a pair of foul shots gave Bear River a 39-29 advantage at intermission.
A 3-pointer by Jared Olsen put the Bears up 46-31 three minutes into the third quarter. Bear River’s inside attack also was constant throughout the contest to help maintain the lead.
“Bear River has three big, strong kids and their relentless offensive rebounding started to wear on us,” Faux said. The Bears added five more points to their lead by the end of the third quarter to enjoy a 57-41 advantage.
The Buffaloes battled back in the final quarter, and eventually cut the lead to 12 with 5:13 left in the game.
Ace Hymas knocked down a baseline jumper, Nick Swartzman dropped in a shot after an offensive rebound, Brady hit a corner trey, Pollmann scored a layup and Pollmann and Lawrence each hit two foul shots to slice the lead to 67-55.
But the final five minutes of the game belonged to the Bears, who outscored Tooele 18-6 the rest of the way.
“After we made that run in the fourth quarter to cut it back to 12, they started to get offensive rebound after offensive rebound and it was deflating to the kids. They just overpowered us rebounding the ball,” Faux said.
Tooele trailed 71-59 with about three minutes to go in the game after a basket by Lincoln Powers. But the Buffaloes were scoreless from the field the rest of the game with the exception of two free throws.
Bear River padded the lead with more layups, foul shots and another 3-pointer as time wound down.
Tooele missed the services of 6-foot-6-inch sophomore Connor Searle, who missed the game with a chronic knee injury. The coach said Searle is expected to play on Friday against the Cowboys.
Tooele shot 37 percent from the field compared to 56 percent for the Bears.
Scoring: Lawrence 24, Pollmann 18, Brady 5, Powers 5, Colton Schofield 3, Hymas 2, Matt Memmott 2, Schwartzman 2.
Powers and Hymas led in rebounding with five each.