4A boys' basketball: Bountiful runs win streak to 19 (with video)
Ogden • The Braves huddled around a computer screen at Bountiful High School to witness defending Class 4A champion Orem fall in shocking fashion Tuesday afternoon.
It was the main topic of conversation during the entire lunch break.
"They said, 'We aren't going to be that team, and we're not going to fall out there,'" Bountiful coach Mike Maxwell said about his team.
The Braves didn't, pushing their win streak to 19 games with their 67-53 win over the Westlake Thunder in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament Tuesday night at the Dee Events Center.
Maxwell keeps his bunch so focused on the next game that sophomore swingman Zac Seljaas, who scored 15 points in the opening-round victory, said he didn't even know how many in a row the Braves have won.
"That's No. 1," Maxwell said. "We don't talk about it."
But as each game passes and each impressive win showcases the Braves' versatility, it's evident this No. 1-seeded group can be lethal in many ways.
Such was the case after Bountiful struggled to contain the Thunder offense in the first quarter. But Bountiful junior Sam Merrill went to work once the second quarter started.
The Utah State University commit spearheaded a 21-0 run, scoring 11 of his game-high 22 points during the stifling second-quarter outburst.
"We picked it up defensively," he said.
The Braves held the Thunder to just five second-quarter points before jumping out to a 20-point halftime advantage. It was a steady diet of Merrill, Seljaas along with Mosese Manu (9 points) and Jordan Bleak (7 points) from there.
"We knew that we wanted it," Seljaas said, "so we went out and got it."
Now these Braves, who haven't lost a game since Dec. 6, draw Roy and its dynamic junior forward Brekkott Chapman in the Class 4A quarterfinals at 12:40 p.m. Thursday in Ogden.
"Those games in the past don't matter anymore," said Merrill, who plays on Utah Prospects club team with Chapman. "It's all about Roy now."