Kearns guard Bushmen Ebet drove the lane and threw down an emphatic dunk as the end of the first quarter approached Monday.
It seemed for a split second that the Cougars were going to take that momentum and run with it.
Kearns 56, Spanish Fork 47
» Kearns held Spanish Fork to 34.1 percent from the field and 12 percent from 3-point range.
» Both teams committed 15 turnovers.
» Spanish Fork outrebounded Kearns 30-22.
But as Bushman landed, a questionable technical for hanging on the rim was called in Kearns’ Class 4A boys’ basketball state tournament opener against Spanish Fork.
"I didn’t like it," said Bushman, who finished with 16 points. "I didn’t like it, but it’s whatever. You know, they called it [and] you can’t argue with the refs. We just played on from there."
The Dons took the result and used it to build a six-point lead and limit the Cougars to four points in the second quarter.
The Cougars came out after the half with a renewed purpose, thanks to Sunday Owda taking over in the Cougars’ 56-47 win. Owda finished with a game-high 21 points by attacking the defense.
"My team needed a scorer, so I stepped up," Odwa said. "This is the first time I’ve won and went to the second game of the playoffs. Last night I was thinking, ‘Who wants it more?’ and I told myself I want it more than anybody else."
It was at the insistence of his players that Kearns coach Dan Cosby switched offenses.
"They put the pressure on," Cosby said. "They love to run diamond. Sometimes I’m a little hesitant because I need everyone in the right position, but they said, ‘Let’s do it coach. Let’s run diamond.’"
The diamond zone offense helped the Cougars force their way to the foul line in the second half for 19 attempts, and they made 17 of their attempts.
The playoff win was Kearns’ first since 1972.
"I’m excited, but I’m not satisfied yet," Owda said. "I’m not satisfied. I want more."
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