Sandy • Zach Rollins dribbled to the right and crossed over, shaking the Brighton defender for the split second that he needed. He stepped back and fired, and the ball went through the hoop, and like that the Alta Hawks were one step closer.
Rollins’ shot that beat the third-quarter buzzer and turned a would-be six-point lead into nine didn’t seal the win then and there. But it broke the offensive doldrums that had hindered the Hawks much of the game and that was enough.
Alta 55, Brighton 37
O Alta holds Brighton star Brock Miller to 11 points.
» The Hawks move one win away from capturing at least a share of the Region 3 crown.
» Zach Rollins finishes with 21 points for Alta, including the 3 that gave the Hawks the momentum for good.
Alta rolled in the fourth, turning a close game into a 55-37 blowout over Brighton on Tuesday evening.
"I think it was a momentum-changer," said Rollins, who finished with a game-high 21 points. "Any buzzer-beater gives you momentum."
Rollins’ shot and the ensuing eight minutes not only won the Hawks the game — it assured that they will earn at least a share of the Region 3 title with their next victory. That would be the first milestone of perhaps many for what has been one of the state’s most dominant teams.
After the game, Rollins acknowledged the significance of the win, which pushed the Hawks closer to an undefeated region record and a top seed in the Class 5A state tournament.
"We’re always looking toward state, I guess," Rollins said, "but our motto is not to look too far ahead — don’t assume anything. We focus on the next game but somewhere in our heads, we’re probably focusing on state a little bit."
The game was in question until the fourth quarter, as neither offense could sustain rhythm. Brighton entered the half down just two points before the Hawks’ high-powered offense finally started hitting shots.
The Miners had no answer, despite 17 points from Osa Masina.
"In the first half, we were settling for a lot of 3s," Rollins said, sprinkling in praise for the Alta defense, which held Brighton to 18 points below its season average. "That’s not the way to start, normally. We started getting inside and that was the key.
"I think we just stuck with it and knew we were going to knock shots down."
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