Logan, Utah — In a battle between Cache Valley Rivals, the Sky View boy’s basketball team fell to Logan High in a thriller, 77-75, on Tuesday. Junior Jalen Moore led all scorers with 22 points, and junior Ty Nielsen added 17, but the Bobcat’s last-second shot fell short at the buzzer.
“We scored enough points to win,” head coach Kirk Hillyard said. “We just didn’t defend well enough. (Logan) did a better job of execution on offense than we did on defense.”
Both teams got off to a fast start in a high scoring first quarter.
Moore hit a jump shot to get the Bobcats on the board, and put Sky View ahead two minutes later with an old-fashioned 3-point play. Moore — son of former Aggie great Jimmy Moore — finished with seven points in the first quarter.
The tide turned at the start of the second quarter as the Grizzlies put pressure on the Bobcats by using a full-court press. Turnovers plagued the Bobcats, and after senior Riley Knowles was called for an offensive foul, Logan held a 30-29 lead.
Moore hit all five of his free throws in the first half, including four straight to close the deficit to one, but the Bobcats were unable to navigate the Grizzly press, and Logan built its lead to five with a minute to go before halftime, and held a 42-38 lead at the break.
“We haven’t been bothered with a press all year,” Hillyard said. “We panicked and didn’t have guys in the right spots. We lost focus and the turnovers happened.”
Momentum shifted back and forth the entire game, and neither team ever led by more than six. Moore had a big third quarter and scored nine points, including another 3-point play that gave the Bobcats a 56-51 lead with three minutes to play in the quarter.
Neither defense cracked to start the fourth quarter. Solid defense on both sides resulted in the twelfth tie of the game at 64-64 with just under seven minutes to play. Moore put the Bobcats up by two on a jumper from the corner, but the Grizzlies took a one-point lead with just over a minute left to play.
Logan pushed its lead to 73-70 with 50 seconds to go. A basket from Nielsen pulled the Bobcats within one, and Sky View was forced to foul with only 30 seconds left on the clock.
Moore had a chance to tie the game with 22 seconds left, but his 3-point attempt rattled in and out, and Logan corralled the rebound and hit its free throws for a 77-72 lead with eight seconds left.
“I had a great look,” Moore said. “Unfortunately it came up short and we had to foul. We didn’t play tough enough defense.”
Sky View got one last chance.
Nielsen was fouled on a 3-point attempt with three seconds left, and hit all three attempts to pull the Bobcats within two. On the ensuing in-bounds play, Nielsen stole the pass at the half-court line and put up a shot that bounced off the backboard as time expired, and Logan escaped with the win.
With the loss, the Bobcats dropped to 11-3 and 2-1 in region play. The Grizzlies improved to 11-3 and 2-1 as well, creating a four-way tie at the top of the standings after Bonneville beat Mountain Crest.
Sky View hosts Box Elder in its next game on Friday, Jan. 27. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“We have another rival in Box Elder on Friday,” Hillyard said. “It will just be the team that does the little things and executes that will come out on top.”