Orem • Cole Griffin saw it, so he went for it.
The senior started his move from the 3-point line first with a dribble, dribble, dribble. There wasn’t anyone there, so he went for it.
It sent the Salem Hills student section into a frenzy.
The slam with less than two minutes left flushed Sky View’s comeback hopes as the Skyhawks hit their free throws to seal the 70-60 victory in Friday’s Class 4A boys’ basketball state semifinal.
“We’ve run that offense many times in practice,” Griffin said. “Coach just came up and said drive like you’re going to dunk it. We’re still trying to score. So I just drove it, and I saw it was there.”
James Nelson, a fellow Salem Hills senior, loved the move.
“I mean, I’ve seen him do it in practice but never in a game before,” said Nelson, who scored a game-high 33 points. Then he broke down the jam with a laugh. “I was thinking he should do a 360.”
The right-handed flush would have to suffice.
The game turned on a technical foul with 2 minutes, 3 seconds left. It was called as Salem Hills’ Tyson Bishop went up for a shot with his team up two. He sank both free throws then Nelson hit the two for the tech. Those four free throws started quite a streak for the victors. Salem Hills converted 16 of their final 17 attempts from the line.
“Every weekend we would work on free throws, and we got better at it,” Nelson said. “But I’ve never seen us shoot free throws like that at the end of a game before. It was just awesome to watch.”
As Nelson made his way to the locker room after the win, he met his cousin Lauren Gustin, the star of the Skyhawks girls’ team. He gave her a huge hug, and she said “One more” before he jogged into the locker room to join the celebration.
The Salem Hills girls’ team will try for the state title at 11 a.m. followed by the boys’ team at 1:15 p.m. Saturday.
SALEM HILLS 70, SKY VIEW 60
• The Skyhawks make 16 of their final 17 free throws to seal the win.
• Salem Hills takes the lead for good when James Nelson hits a layup just before the buzzer to end the third quarter.
• Mason Falslev leads the Bobcats with 25 points and eight rebounds.