In a very low-scoring game, it seemed likely that Juab only needed one more score in the last four minutes to clinch an opening-round win in the Class 3A boys’ basketball tournament.
But after grabbing their first lead with 4:38 to play, the visiting Wasps never did get that basket. Instead, the big shot went to Juan Diego senior Will Hoffler, as the Soaring Eagle moved into the state quarterfinals with a 33-31 victory Saturday night.
Trailing 31-29, and with only one field goal over the previous 10 minutes to its credit, Juan Diego ran a play in the closing seconds designed to give Hoffler an opportunity.
With 22 seconds remaining, Hoffler popped open at the top of the key and swished a 3-pointer. One more ensuing free throw from teammate Dominic Colosimo finished the scoring, as Juab’s Jeff Rowley missed a shot with one second left in an attempt to tie the game.
In his previous six attempts from beyond the arc, Hoffler had connected on two — including one that banked to start the game.
“The third one was clean, it caught a little bit of the left side of the rim. Once I let it go, I thought it was going in,” Hoffler said. “We had almost the same thing happen last week [against Layton] and we ran basically the same play.”
“He hit the game-winner over Layton, he hit another one earlier in the season, and this one — he’s a clutch kid,” said Juan Diego coach Drew Trost.
A stifling man-to-man defense by Juan Diego (19-5) nearly completely shut down Juab (13-8) in the first half. Nearly seven minutes into the second quarter, JD had held the Wasps to only one basket and three free throws in building up a 17-5 advantage.
Juan Diego was playing without injured leading scorer Gabe Colosimo.
“He’s one of the best players in the state and, anytime you lose someone like that, it’s going to hurt you,” Trost said. “But there’s guys ready to step up. The effort was there and the defense was strong as it always is. We’ve just got to fine-tune our scoring.”
Juab scored five quick points in the last 1:05 of the second quarter and, led by Joshua Clark’s 11 points, outscored the Eagle 16-9 in the third quarter and capped the period with a half-court shot by Dillon Douglas to tie the contest at 26-26.
The Wasps took a 30-28 advantage midway through the final stanza, but missed several open shots over the remainder of the game.
“I know we had three looks within six feet that would have clinched that game,” Juab coach Jake Downard said. “For whatever reason, they just wouldn’t drop.”
Richfield 82, Park City 58 • The host Wildcats topped the Miners on the strength of 30 points from Brandon Willardson and stretches of lockdown defense.
Snow Canyon 54, Ben Lomond 37 • The Warriors pulled away late over the Scots, who made it to the state tournament despite a 2-6 record in Region 10.
Cedar 50, Grantsville 45 • Cedar, a No. 4 seed, scored the upset over the top-seeded Cowboys by hitting big shots down the stretch. Dustin Staggs led the Redmen with 24 points.
Pine View 73, Tooele 58 • Kody Wilstead scored a team-high 14 for Pine View, but it was the Panthers’ defense that keyed the victory. The Panthers allowed just 16 points in the first half.
Payson 49, Uintah 40 • The No. 1-seed Lions used a suffocating defense to beat Uintah, avoiding a first-round upset. They’ll face Pine View in the second round.
Morgan 72, North Sanpete 50 • Bridger Streadbeck scored 18 points to lead defending Class 3A champion Morgan to a win. The Trojans advance to face rival Bear River.
Bear River 53, Desert Hills 40 (OT) • The Bears overcame the Thunder by holding them scoreless in overtime. Parker Lewis led the Bears with 16 points.
R Juan Diego limits the visiting Wasps to five points each in the first, second and fourth quarters.
• Will Hoffler hits his third 3-pointer of the game with 22 seconds left to regain the lead for the Eagles.
Class 2A boys’ tournament
• Emery 71, Rockwell 53
• South Summit 64, Beaver 53
• Enterprise 76, North Summit 66
• Merit 60, Grand 48
• Parowan 56, Manti 50
• South Sevier 66, Layton Christian 57
• Wasatch Academy 74, Rowland Hall 31
• Gunnison 67, Delta 55
Class 3A boys’ tournament
• Richfield 82, Park City 58
• Snow Canyon 54, Ben Lomond 37
• Cedar 50, Grantsville 45
• Juan Diego 33, Juab 31
• Pine View 73, Tooele 58
• Payson 49, Uintah 40
• Morgan 70, North Sanpete 52
• Bear River 53, Desert Hills 43 (OT)