Ogden • The floater left Morgan guard Jake Miles’ fingertips and bounced on the back of the rim, springing high into the air. Miles, who had been fouled on the shot, back-pedalled as the ball hung in the air.
The ball fell through the net. There were five minutes left in the game, and Morgan finally had the lead.
Miles unfurled a primal celebration, his feet stomping and muscles flexing. His yell rose above the Morgan crowd, which now was on its feet. It wasn’t the last crucial play Miles would make in the game — he later hit a pair of game-winning free throws — but it might have been the biggest.
“I didn’t even think it was going to go in,” Miles said. “I was from 15 feet, just threw it up there to draw a foul, and luckily it went in. That was a momentum-changer. We started momentum there and ran away with it for a little bit.”
Miles had 20 points, and Morgan came back from a sluggish start to beat Wasatch 52-50 in the Class 3A semifinals Friday night.
It took another 5:24 after Miles’ floater for Morgan to finish off Wasatch, as the Wasps responded with a late run to tie the game before Miles’ free throws in the final seconds.
But when it was over, Miles, who has been one of the state’s top scorers over the past few seasons, was headed to the state title game.
“I struggled from the field, but I found other ways to score — getting to the free-throw line and other stuff,” Miles said.
“They played really good defense on me tonight. ... But it was good that other kids picked up the slack, and we got the ‘W.’ ”
The Trojans had an uncharacteristically slow start to the game, and the Wasps capitalized for a 9-0 lead. But Morgan trimmed the deficit to four by halftime.
“We’ve been down seven, 11, and we’ve always came back and made it a close game,” Miles said. “We knew we’d come back and make a run for their money. But there was more on the line, so I would definitely say [the deficit] got to us a little more.”
Morgan will face Region 9 rival Bear River on Saturday night in the state title game. The Trojans beat the Bears in two close games earlier this season.
“It’s going to be great,” Miles said. “This place is going to be packed. It’s going to be an awesome environment, and I can’t wait.”
O Bear River vs. Morgan
Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
At Weber State