Orem • East High’s 6-foot-10 center Mikey Frazier laughed in disbelief when he was called for a charge with about five minutes left to play in a Class 5A boys’ basketball opening-round game Monday.
The Leopards big man had another chance about five minutes later, and there was no hesitation.
Frazier drove to the hoop for a layup, no foul was called and East had its first lead since early in the third quarter with 9 seconds left in the game.
A few seconds later after a couple of desperation misses by Jordan as time ran out, the Leopards were heading to the state quarterfinal round with a 54-53 victory.
“Coach just told us to get in the high post and attack the basket the way we’re supposed to do,” said Frazier, who is committed to play at Boise State. “So we did that and we finished. We fought, and like my teammate Ben Ford said, ‘These games aren’t won on the day of. They’re won back when we were playing in Utah camp and running suicides.’”
With the exception of a couple of blocks, Frazier largely was absent in the first half as he tallied only three points. But all of the senior’s skills were on display down the stretch.
Frazier finished with six blocked shots, scored 17 points and hit a pair of 3-pointers — one from the top of the key as he followed a fastbreak from East (13-12) that cut the Jordan (14-10) lead to 47-43 with 2:53 remaining.
“He’s a big kid, but he has great footwork. He’s agile on his feet and he’s done that all year,” East coach Mitch Smith said. “A 3-point shot is part of his game, and he can get to the hole with his footwork.”
Work remained to be done for the Leopards because the Beetdiggers, led by Dyson Koehler’s 19 points, made the score 51-44 with 2:11 remaining on a Koehler bucket.
The crucial play for East in the last minute, other than Frazier’s game-winner, was a sequence in which the Leopards reduced a five-point deficit down to one.
The Leopards got one free throw from Jaylen Harris with 57 seconds left. But Harris missed the second, and East reserve Brennan Hall came to the rescue by stripping a Jordan player of the ball then passing out to Taylor Zwick, who buried a 3-pointer to make the score 53-52.
“He’s a bench player, he doesn’t get a lot of time for us,” Smith said about Hall. “But he hit a 3-point shot for us that was huge. And he just comes in and fights for a board. It was big.”
East also got 15 points from Andre Mulibea, while Zwick added 14. Terry Mosley also got into double-figures with 13 points for Jordan.
EAST 54, JORDAN 53 <br>• East gets the go-ahead basket from senior Mikey Frazier with 9 seconds remaining. <br>• The Leopards rally from five points down in the closing minutes. <br>• Jordan, led by Dyson Koehler’s 19 points and 13 more from Terryn Mosley, holds the lead from late in the third quarter until Frazier’s game-winner.