Coming into Friday night’s Region 6 boys’ basketball game, Bountiful was sitting in first place and Judge Memorial was in a tie for second.
But if the game proved anything, it was that the distance between the Braves and the rest of the region is a gulf — at least when Bountiful is on its game.
The Braves were definitely sharp during a 70-38 victory over the visiting Bulldogs. The game was essentially over when Bountiful (16-1, 9-0 in 6-4A) tallied 22 straight points in the first quarter and went into the second quarter with a 29-5 advantage.
“We knew how they played and we went out and used what we knew,” Bountiful’s Zac Seljaas said. “We knew who their scorers were and we knew who to go out and guard and who to help off of.”
Seljaas nearly equaled the output from Judge (11-7, 5-4) all by himself as the junior poured in 33 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Meanwhile, two of the Bulldogs’ most prominent scorers — Ryan Pauley and Kaden Elliss — finished without a point between them during the first half.
“I think their defense had a lot to do with that. They do a lot of non-traditional stuff,” Judge Memorial coach Dan Del Porto said. “And when you’ve got a lot of guys who can guard, multi-skilled people who can defend, that makes it really, really hard.”
The lead for the Braves ballooned quickly in the opening period as a three-point margin moved to 11 in just 50 seconds.
A field goal by Sam Merrill, who finished with 12 points, was followed by a 3-pointer from Jordan Bleak to make the score 12-9. On Bleak’s trey, a foul was called on Judge and, nine seconds later, Seljaas canned another three to push the lead to double digits.
“My assistant and I have been watching Utah high school basketball for a long time. That’s probably the best team we’ve seen in the entire time we’ve been doing this,” Del Porto said. “If there’s anyone better here in the state, I want to see it.”
Bountiful had also beaten Judge Memorial 73-44 to start its region schedule earlier this season. Only East and Kearns, of Bountiful’s opponents, have been able to keep the margin of defeat to less than 20 points so far in the region slate.
Still, Braves coach Mike Maxwell warned not to overlook those squads jockeying for position behind his squad.
“There are five teams probably one game apart. Three of those five are going (to state) and two will be staying home,” Maxwell said. “They’re all above .500 and they’re all quality teams. Our league is better than people realize.”
Boys’ basketballBountiful 70, Judge 38
O Bountiful wins its 30th straight region game in an undefeated stretch that goes back four years.
• Braves’ junior Zac Seljaas scorches the nets for 33 points and grabs a game-high 10 rebounds.
• During a 22-0 first quarter run, Judge twice calls timeouts but can’t slow Bountiful’s offensive tide.