Bobcats blow open last half against rival Highland

Image: Kelsey Lee sings the national anthem to get the game under way.

Kelsey Lee sings the national anthem to get the game under way. (Corey Burger)

Smithfield, Utah — The Sky View High boys basketball team concluded the non-region portion of its schedule with a 62-55 victory over Idaho’s Highland High School Wednesday night. Junior Jalen Moore finished with 21 points on the night.

“Jalen had it going early,” head coach Kirk Hillyard said. “It’s fun to have him scoring like that.”

Moore got off to a fast start, and scored the first seven points for the Bobcats en route to an early 7-2 advantage. The Rams answered with a 6-0 run and held an 8-7 advantage midway through the first quarter after back-to-back 3-pointers from junior Austin Andreasen and senior Cole Ashby.

Moore scored nine first quarter points as the Bobcats scored the final four points and held a 13-12 advantage.

Sky View’s defense stepped up its pressure in the second quarter, holding Highland to only nine total points. Senior Casey Oliverson scored five of his 19 total points and added an assist to pace the Bobcats offense, and Sky View increased its lead to eight going into the break.

Both teams struggled from the free throw line in the first half, as Sky View made just one and Highland came up empty from the charity stripe.

Moore credited the defense for increasing the lead.

“We stepped up our defense,” Moore said. “Then when we’d come down on offense we ran our plays like we were supposed to and got good looks.”

Both teams struggled offensively to start the third quarter, and neither team scored for the first 90 seconds.

With six and a half minutes remaining in the quarter, the flood gates opened.

Over the next 90 seconds, the teams combined for 15 points as Highland outscored Sky View 9-6, and Coach Hillyard opted to take a timeout to slow the tempo. Oliverson had six points during the quarter, and the Rams closed the gap to four to start the fourth quarter.

Highland didnt quit and with just over four minutes to play pulled to within 47-45 after back-to-back baskets from junior Colton Shreve. Unfortunately for the Rams, they couldn’t slow down Oliverson in the post, and the 6-foot-8-inch center scored on two consecutive possessions and gave the Bobcats a four point advantage with three and a half minutes to play.

Junior Clark Wilkinson hit a jump shot for the Rams to tie the game at 51 with two minutes to play, and the grudge match seemed to be on.

Moore would have none of it.

The 185 pound forward scored four points and got help from the Bobcat defense to take 57-53 lead. From there Sky View closed it out from the free throw line for the final margin of 7. Sky View finished 10-16 from the free throw line, while Highland finished 2-6.

“We didn’t play very good defense in the fourth quarter,” Hillyard said. “It was good to see them step up and hit free throws down the stretch.”

The Bobcats improved to 7-2 on the season with the win.

Sky View begins region play Friday Jan. 13 with a visit to Roy.

“(Highland) is a good team, a really good team,” said Hillyard. “That was good for us to be able to grind out that win going into region. Region is going to be a dogfight.”