Ogden • For seven minutes, basketball wasn’t basketball.
It was a delicate game of chicken between two of the premier programs in the state, between the No. 1 team in the country and defending champion Lone Peak Knights and the Brighton Bengals, the team Lone Peak defeated in last year’s Class 5A title game.
For seven minutes, no points were scored. For seven minutes, one shot was taken — a miss. For seven minutes, one foul was called.
So there stood Brighton senior Bryce Callahan, cradling the ball, awaiting a Lone Peak defender to pester him. To either try to steal the ball or foul him.
For seven minutes, he was on a deserted island with nothing but the basketball.
“The plan wasn’t to stall,” Brighton coach Jeff Gardner said, “the plan was to draw them out and play 4-on-4 behind them.”
Theoretically, the plan worked. Being within five points early in the third quarter like the Bengals found themselves against Lone Peak is any opposing coach’s dream.
Then the Knights had enough.
Then senior Nick Emery splashed a 3-pointer from far behind the arc. From there, the talk of “the stall” or “the quarter” or “the seven minutes” was, to Lone Peak, over with as the Knights rolled past Brighton 53-27 in Friday afternoon’s Class 5A semifinal at the Dee Events Center.
“The goal of the game is to win,” Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis said, “not by 20 or 30, but to win. [It was] not a bad idea. Obviously, it didn’t work and we were pretty well prepared for it.”
For seven minutes, the Knights and Bengals stared at one another with the score 14-7. Fans showered boos in torrential downpours. Coaches laughed. Players smirked.
“It’s hard, when you’re just standing there for eight minutes, to get into a groove,” Emery said.
For an entire quarter, the awkwardness permeated throughout thousands of fans in attendance. While many blasted the Brighton game plan, the Bengals were close to the best team in the country in the second half of an elimination game, something Gardner obviously wanted.
“I thought, ‘Hey, let’s turn this into a 16-minute game if they’re going to let us,’ ” Gardner said. “I don’t want the game to be about [the second quarter].”
Unfortunately, the talk of this game will be of the discomfort generated from the game plan implemented by the Bengals and the counteraction of Lewis and the Knights.
“We knew it was coming at some point in the season,” said senior Eric Mika, who finished with 11 points and eight rebounds, “but I don’t think any of us expected it from them.”
The idea is a true testament to the dominance of this Lone Peak program, which will be playing for its sixth state title under Lewis on Saturday against Alta.
“Sometimes you’re the pigeon, and sometimes you’re the statue,” Gardner said, “and tonight I was the statue out there.”