Brighton attacked the rim, painted the paint with layups and short jumpers from the opening tip Tuesday.
As Brock Miller continued to struggle with his shot from the outside, the senior guard took his teammates’ cue in the fourth quarter.
Brighton 65, Taylorsville 60
» Brock Miller scores 15 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Bengals to the first-round victory
» Brighton’s Osa Masina leaves the game in the third quarter with an apparent dislocated finger on his left hand
» Brighton will play American Fork in Thursday’s quarterfinals
Miller drove to the basket for high-percentage shots and mixed in a big 3-pointer as the Bengals held off Taylorsville 65-60 in the first round of the Class 5A boys’ state tournament at the Huntsman Center.
"The rims seemed a little short," Miller said. "So I came in the second half looking more aggressive to get my game going a little bit — to attack, get some easy ones and get the flow going."
Miller scored 15 of his team-best 20 points in the fourth quarter after teammate Osa Masina left for the hospital with a bone sticking out of a finger on his left hand.
"Osa’s a big-time player for us," Miller said. "Guys came in and stepped up in Osa’s role in the second half. I thought we did that pretty well. ... We’ll definitely miss him."
Brighton advanced to meet American Fork in Thursday’s 4:10 p.m. quarterfinal. The Bengals will do so without Masina, a force in the post who scored eight points in 19 minutes before injuring his hand on a hard foul.
"It was a pretty gruesome scene," Brighton coach Jeff Gardner said. "The competitor he is and the kid he is — we’re really going to miss him. Obviously we will miss him on the floor."
Junior forward John Gremillion picked up the slack in the post with 17 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks — the last rejection on a 3-point attempt by Taylorsville’s Jevin Warren that would have cut a six-point lead in half in the final minute.
Miller scored the Bengals’ first basket but ended the first half just 1 of 9 from the field. He made a layup in the third quarter then took over in the final eight minutes. His 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 29 seconds to play put Brighton up 59-53.
"The great think about Brock is he has a short memory," Gardner said. "He had a tough first half. ... He’s a great player, and the greater the player, the more you kind of let them work their way through things. That’s what he did tonight."
Taylorsville didn’t get closer than four points the rest of the way.
Warren scored 20 points and Manuel Evangelista added 15 points for the Warriors (18-6), the champions from Region 2.
Taylorsville point guard Sidney Freeman scored 13 points but was held in check by Brighton’s Eric Bennion.
"We had our hands full with Warren and Freeman, and I thought Eric did a great job making Freeman have to earn his points," Gardner said. "We were happy with that."
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