The Stansbury boys basketball team came into Tuesday’s first-round Class 4A state tournament game knowing not to take anyone lightly — not even an Ogden team it had beaten handily twice during the Region 10 season.
Instead, the Stallions came out determined to get the job done in their final home game of the season. No. 12 Stansbury outscored No. 21 Ogden 21-2 in the first quarter and cruised to a 62-31 win, earning a trip to Smithfield to face No. 5 Sky View in Friday’s second round.
“We talk about — all the time — the eye-on-the-prize kind of thing,” Stansbury coach Joe White said. “It’s not over. Thirty-two minutes of intense focus, and they did it. It’s a whole new season, and anything can happen. There’s three seasons — the preseason, the region and the postseason.”
Stansbury (13-8) started quickly, scoring the first eight points of the game on layups by Pae Tia, Jacob White and Logan Richins, as well as a mid-range jumper by Landen Giles. Ogden (2-18) got on the board with a baseline jumper by Ozzy Norton with 3:34 left in the opening quarter, but the Stallions rattled off 13 points in a span of just 2:38 to take firm control of the game. Giles, Kru Huxford and Bridger Thomas all hit 3-pointers during the Stallions’ outburst, with Thomas’ shot from the right wing just beating the first-quarter buzzer.
The Tigers cut into the Stallions’ lead early in the second quarter with six unanswered points, but Huxford rattled in a 3-pointer with 5:20 left in the first half that sparked an 11-2 run that essentially put the game out of reach. Richins and Huxford added more 3-pointers during the run, and Giles hit a fadeaway jumper that put the Stallions up 32-10 on their way to a 32-13 halftime lead.
“There was a couple times that we kind of let Ogden do things they wanted to, and we told them we had to buckle down and defend,” Joe White said. “We got some silly fouls in that second quarter, but I said, ‘get down in (defensive) stance, defend with your chest,’ and they did it.”
Tia took over in the third quarter, scoring eight points as the Stallions outscored Ogden 19-9 in the period. Tia played a big role in the absence of regular center David Spaulding, who missed the game because of COVID-19 protocol.
“His legs are now getting under him — and his confidence,” Joe White said of Tia. “Defensively, he’s so good. He brings a level of toughness, just because of his nature. He’s just a great kid and he knows how to compete.
“It sucks not having Dave (Spaulding),” the coach added. “I just feel so bad for Dave. He’s just worked so hard and not to be here his senior year and not to finish it out because of the pandemic — we definitely felt like a piece of us was missing (Tuesday) night.”
Stansbury extended its lead with an 13-2 run that took up the final 3:40 of the third quarter and the first 1:39 of the fourth. Thomas’ third 3-pointer of the game and a layup by reserve center Jacob Rich gave the Stallions a 34-point advantage with 4:04 left in the game, and a baseline jumper by Matthew Topham gave Stansbury its biggest lead at 62-27 in the final minute.
Huxford and Thomas led a balanced Stansbury offense with 13 points each. Tia had 10 points, and Giles and Richins scored nine each. Topham had four points and Rich and Jacob White had two each.
Landon Kimber led Ogden with 12 points. Izzy Russell had eight points for the Tigers.
Stansbury’s next test promises to be much more challenging. Sky View (15-5) finished second in Region 11, though its two region losses both came late in the season against Ridgeline and Green Canyon.
“We have nothing to lose,” Joe White said. “We’ll go up there and give it our best shot, and I think we can compete with them. I think we have the horses. We just need to keep rebounding — our rebounding is giving us an advantage and it’s keeping us in games.”
Friday’s game will tip off at 7 p.m. The winner will meet either No. 4 Desert Hills or No. 13 Cedar Valley in a state quarterfinal game at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.