Woods Cross • After losing three straight and getting drubbed by Bountiful in its last contest, the Judge Memorial boys’ basketball team was in need of a bounce-back game.
And it came on the road Friday night for the Bulldogs, who took the lead midway through the second quarter against Woods Cross and kept it for the duration in a 61-51 victory.
The turning point for Judge (7-3, 1-1 Region 6) came when the ’Dogs decided to step back from a potential run-and-gun game and play at a slower pace. Trailing by as much as six points in the opening period, the visitors worked to move more deliberately and it paid off in the form of seniors Kaden Elliss and Ryan Pauley — who finished with 21 and 11 points, respectively.
“They just shot the lights out in the first quarter and we had to keep our composure, play through it and stay positive,” said Pauley, who also yanked down 11 rebounds. “That’s where we went wrong on Wednesday (a 29-point loss against Bountiful). When they started shooting well, we broke down. We fixed it tonight.”
The host Wildcats got two 3-pointers from Garrett Grant and another by Jackson Pohlman at the end of the initial stanza to claim the lead. Grant had 22 points and Pohlman added 10 for Woods Cross (7-2, 0-1), which missed only three shots in the first quarter.
“I felt we were in control. I didn’t think they could shoot like that the whole game,” Pauley said.
“We weren’t playing the same type of a team and we were able to match up better,” Judge Memorial coach Dan Del Porto said. “The biggest key for this team is sharing the ball and moving it. If we get the ball to the right spots, we have people who can make the plays.”
With the Bulldogs down 19-17 in the second, Elliss grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup to tie. Then Ellis scored two more buckets within 30 seconds as part of an 11-0 run to make the score 26-19.
Woods Cross would eventually get as close as two points at the beginning of the fourth. Holding a 46-43 advantage, Judge then sprinted away from the ‘Cats with a 15-4 stretch.
“They started defending us a lot better and we started playing a lot of one-on-five,” Woods Cross coach Kasey Walkenhurst said. “We stopped playing our game and it’s easy to defend when you’ve got one guy playing and the other four standing around watching.”
• Woods Cross is held to four points in the second quarter as Judge’s man-to-man defense limits outside shots by the Wildcats.
• Judge’s Kaden Ellis gets his fourth foul just before the lead was cut to two. But Ellis, who scores 21, and stays on the floor and avoids picking up his fifth.