West Valley City • Talk about a game no one could win.
It seemed as though every time Copper Hills or Northridge tried to hit a key shot or make a clutch free throw late in the game, nothing would fall. Of all things, it took a rebound and a foul at the end of overtime to give the No. 1-seeded Knights a 43-41 first-round victory in the Class 5A boys’ basketball tournament at the Maverik Center on Tuesday.
Northridge’s Karson Casteel grabbed a board with 10 seconds left and made a free throw, before Copper Hills was hit with an untimely offensive foul to seal one of the ugliest games of the tournament this week. The Knights advance to meet powerful Lone Peak in the quarterfinals Thursday, after those Knights defeated hammered Kearns 62-36 earlier Tuesday.
That quarterfinal game is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
The Knights beat the Grizzlies very much despite themselves, shooting just under 26 percent from the field. But defense willed them through.
“We thought we’d shoot a little better than 11 percent in the first half,” Casteel said. “But we played hard defensively, and that keeps us in games.”
Northridge made 14 steals in the game, taking advantage of a turnover prone Grizzlies team. The Knights also enjoyed strong contributions from their bench on a day when guard Parker Christensen went 1-for-13 from the field. Casteel led the team with 11 points and nine rebounds, while Jesse Armistead scored 10 off the bench.
But the Knights were turnover-prone, too, and couldn’t make shots. Copper Hills led by as many as six points in the first quarter as Northridge struggled to find the rim.
Even when the Knights got up on the Grizzlies, they had trouble keeping the lead. An eight-point margin in the fourth quarter evaporated, with Copper Hills’ Tyler Lazenby scoring the bucket that tied the game 35-35 in the final minute and ultimately forced overtime.
Dylan Carter led Copper Hills with 13 points, but also was called for the critical pick that turned the ball over with four seconds left in overtime. The Knights inbounded to Christensen, who managed to evade Grizzlies defenders as time ran out.
• The Knights escape a tight overtime game with Copper Hills.
• Karson Casteel leads Northridge with 11 points and nine rebounds.
• Dylan Carter scores a game-high 13 points for Copper Hills.