Corner Canyon looked headed in the wrong direction as the Class 5A boys’ basketball state tournament approached.

Times certainly have changed. Corner Canyon looks like a team that made the state semifinals a season ago as the Chargers qualified once again for the final four in their division Wednesday night. They controlled tempo and decisively beat Box Elder 79-54.

“We had a rough couple of games, but it was always like we were putting it together with our teammates,” said Chargers junior Luke Warnock, who finished with 14 points. ”Playing defense, hustling — it’s all the little things.”

Corner Canyon (14-10) lost three of its final four games entering the playoffs, slipping to the No. 3 seed out of Region 7.

But the Chargers beat a tough Highland team in the first round then raced out to a comfortable lead with a big second-quarter run and were never threatened seriously afterward in the quarterfinals.

“We’ve always had high expectations. We’ve never lowered our expectations,” Warnock said. “Even when people doubted us, we don’t listen to those doubters. We just do what we’ve got to do.”

Box Elder (14-8), led by Max Watson’s 25 points, led 13-11 after he scored the first four points of the second quarter.

Corner Canyon (14-10) then scored the next 10 in a row with Hayden Welling, who paced the Chargers with 19 points, getting six during that streak. The 6-foot-8 Welling showed his versatility by leading his team with four assists while also getting three blocks.

“He’s kind of protecting the rim, around the basket, he’s shooting the ball,” Corner Canyon coach Dan Lunt said about Welling, who was an efficient 6 of 9 from the floor and hit 7 of his 8 foul shots. “He’s just done a great job. I think the big thing is that everybody is playing their own little role. And every little role is important as the other.”

The Bees, which also got a dozen points from big man Tyson Madson, made the score 34-24 in the third period on a bucket by Watson off a turnover. But Warnock responded with a 3-pointer as Corner Canyon scored the next seven points, capped by a Welling dunk.

The Chargers are set to return to the Huntsman Center for Friday’s 2:30 p.m. state semifinal.

“You know, it’s all a process. It’s all a journey. I wouldn’t change anything to get where we are because we learned from the experiences,” Lunt said. “We’ve just got to keep playing to the end. I tell the kids all the time, ‘If we defend, we’re a pretty doggone good team.’”


• Corner Canyon advances to the state semifinals for the second consecutive season. The Chargers fell to Olympus in the Class 4A state semifinals last season.

• Hayden Welling leads Corner Canyon with 19 points, while fellow junior Luke Warnock adds 14.

• Max Watson leads Box Elder with 25 points.