Trapped along the baseline beneath the basket, Sidney Freeman picked up his dribble and searched for an outlet. A swarm of defenders collapsed, each poking and slapping at the ball, but none could jar it loose.
Freeman eventually found a way out of the mess. He pivoted off his left foot and ducked down beneath the group of defenders and found his backcourt mate wide open beyond the 3-point line.
The pass was perfect and hit Jevin Warren right in the chest. He promptly rose and swished a shot from beyond the arc. As the Taylorsville pair hustled back on defense, Warren pointed at Freeman and Freeman nodded.
"We've got a two-headed monster," Taylorsville coach Jim Boyce said.
Warren and Freeman, both juniors, are a talented guard tandem for the 5-5 Warriors. Warren leads the team in scoring with 17.2 points per game, while Warren, who is more of a pass-first guard is averaging 13.2.
Warren is an aggressive offense talent, standing at 6-foot-tall, who can hit outside shots and attack defenses in the pain. Freeman is a stifling defensive player who pesters opposing guards into committing turnovers.
The bond developed between the two shouldn't come as a surprise. They've played together since they were fifth-graders, when they competed on the same club team.
"We just trust each other," Freeman said.
But in order for the Warriors to make some noise in region play, they'll need more than Warren's 3-point shot or Freeman's quick hands to make a run toward the playoffs.
"In order for us to have success, everyone not named Sid and not named Jevin needs to step up," Boyce said. "We need them to do that."
Warren said that while the team has had an up-and-down preseason, the team must figure out a way to develop team intangibles across the board.
"This preseason has been good for us in getting us ready for region," he said. "We've just got to stay positive. If we really emphasize consistency, it's going to help us a lot."
The Warriors have two more preseason games home against 4A Roy on Jan. 2 and at 5A Jordan on Jan. 4 before they start their run at a Region 2 crown on the road against West on Jan. 11.
Boyce said while it's nice having a talented backcourt like he does now, it won't mean much in the end of the entire team can't start hitting on all cylinders and soon. And it starts with Warren and Freeman.
"I don't know if I've ever had two players that are this talented," Boyce said. "I think the other kids really respect them and follow them."
Warren, speaking like a true teammate, said if the game is on the line, he'd like to see what his backcourt running mate Freeman can do.
"I know if he makes a decision with the ball," he said, "it's going to be the right decision."