Tooele • Senior Mitchell Bunn’s hot hand in the fourth quarter carried Tooele past heated rival Stansbury 58-53 on Wednesday.
Stansbury senior Joshua Jenkins scored 10 points at the beginning of the third quarter to get the Stallions off to a 10-2 run and a sizeable lead to start the half. Stansbury was composed and looked on its way to a crucial region victory for three and a half quarters.
But Tooele coach Joshua Johnsen called a timeout and issued a challenge to the seniors with about three minutes left in the contest.
“I told the seniors at the timeout, this is going to be the last time you play Stansbury on your home court, how do you want to be remembered? ” Johnsen said.
Bunn, who was in foul trouble for the majority of the game, took his coach’s message to heart. He scored nine consecutive points to give the Buffaloes their first lead at 52-50.
Tooele center Justin Rogers broke free for a layup to push the lead to four.
Jenkins kept the Stallions in it by draining a 3-pointer with 56 seconds left.
Kyler Hymas, who led Tooele with 18 points, made three free throws in the final seconds to secure the victory and give Tooele the all-important region tiebreaker.
“I always tell the kids, you can practice as hard as you want to practice, but you just never know what’s going to happen in a rivalry game,” Johnsen said.
Bunn finished with 16 points, while Jenkins led Stansbury with 25 points.
Tooele pushed its winnings streak to five games, and it holds the region’s No. 2 seed.
“I think that if we carry over the momentum that we have, especially from this rivalry game, I think we have a great shot at Juan Diego and mess some things up,” Bunn said.