Ogden • Things appeared bleak for Corner Canyon after a half against Highland.
Elijah Shelton was busy burying 3s and Richard Tialavea was shaking the rim with thunderous dunks, helping the Rams take a 12-point lead into the break.
But Chargers guard Gabe Toombs had something to say about that.
He drove the baseline and finished with a picturesque double-clutch layup then a shot from downtown moments later invigorated Corner Canyon. It was a game again. And when Shane Hertgen nailed a 3 as time expired in the third quarter, the Chargers found themselves within two points.
With the comeback nearly complete, Corner Canyon turned to Hayden Welling, who not only was busy protecting the paint by blocking several shots, but leading the comeback with 16 points thanks to exemplary footwork in the paint. Dejected faces in the first half suddenly were lit up with exuberance on the Chargers bench. The Chargers finished the comeback Monday, recording a 69-57 victory over the Rams in the opening round of the Class 5A boys’ basketball state tournament.
“It was a total team effort, and we believed in each other,” Welling said. “My job was to anchor the key and protect the paint, and I did my best. But at the end of the day, it was the team that got the job done.”
Both teams struggled at the start on the home court of the Weber State Wildcats. Nerves appeared high and the play was shaky at best. Once Shelton sank a 3, it proved to be exactly what was needed to gear up the Rams, who owned the first half.
However, Corner Canyon forced eight steals in the second half, and its pressure defense disrupted a Rams offense that was as inefficient in the second half as it was efficient in the first.
“I wish I could say I had something to do with the victory,” Corner Canyon coach Dan Lunt said. “It was the boys who never gave up and believed in themselves.”
CORNER CANYON 69, HIGHLAND 57
• The Chargers rally from a 14-point deficit in the second half to reach the state quarterfinals.
• Hayden Welling leads Corner Canyon with 16 points and nine rebounds.
• Corner Canyon commits eight turnovers to 18 for Highland.