Boys basketball: Ogden leads the whole way, weathers multiple comebacks to beat Ben Lomond
OGDEN — For years, Ben Lomond and Ogden High’s boys basketball teams have fought at the lower rungs of the basketball ladder in the state, getting pushed around more often than not.
On Wednesday, the Scots showed they need to be taken seriously each game after they beat a good Morgan team 62-61 on the road.
On Friday, the Tigers got their message out against Ben Lomond: they also have to be taken seriously.
Ogden led from start to finish in a 61-52 win over its rival, the Tigers’ first win over Ben Lomond since 2019 and just the second win in the last seven games for Ogden in this series.
Numerous times, Ogden (8-7, 2-2 Region 13) built big leads and Ben Lomond (9-5, 1-2) nearly came back, but the Tigers held on each time — even when the lead dwindled to three points in the game’s final minutes.
“Last game, we played the No. 1 (RPI) team in the state and at halftime we were down one, then at the end of the game we were down by a lot. So I think we were really hungry for this, really wanted to win,” Ogden senior Alex Howard.
Ogden took a 10-2 lead at the 4:32 mark of the first quarter after a layup by Howard, who scored 11 of his 17 points in the first half.
Early on, it looked like the Scots were missing some sort of assertive scoring presence as the Tigers went up 12 early in the second quarter. Ben Lomond was also missing leading scorer Kekoa Beard for the second game in a row.
The Scots played with more purpose on offense in the second quarter, particularly through sophomore post Jake East, who led all scorers with 24 points and had some of the team’s most important buckets.
A Trenton Harris 3-pointer cut the Tigers’ lead to single digits, then Ogden’s Khol Gill scored seven straight points to close the half with his team up 31-24. Gill totaled 15 points.
Once again, Ogden went up double digits, 48-37, at the end of the third and this time Ben Lomond’s comeback attempt nearly ended in a Scots win.
That 11-point lead quickly dwindled to five, 48-43. Landen Smith’s bucket made it 55-47 for the Tigers and then another basket by Jake East cut the lead to 55-52.
The pivotal sequence happened shortly afterward when Ben Lomond’s Caleb Alexander stole an Ogden inbound pass, went down the court, stopped just inside the 3-point line, backed up and had his shot blocked by Jace Oliverson. Oliverson controlled the ball and passed to Ozzy Norton, who was fouled.
Norton had earlier missed two free throws and Ben Lomond coach Tanoka Beard had yelled at his players to foul Norton.
This time, Norton made both for a 57-52 lead, then converted a fastbreak basket the next possession to put the game to bed. He finished with 11 points.
“You know, I know how important a win like this is to Ogden High, fans and alumni, that’s a special thing,” said Ogden coach Brock Randall, who was doused with water in the locker room by the Ogden players after the game. “I feel like the guys were in the right place mentally. We had to be reminded a couple times to make the right plays and what we really wanted to do.”
Ahead of Friday’s showdown, their first of the season, Ben Lomond and Ogden came into the game with a combined 16-11 record between them. It’s not only been awhile since both teams were simultaneously good, but it’s also been awhile since the basketball edition of the Iron Horse meant more to the teams than normal.
As of Friday morning, Ben Lomond was the No. 5 team in the 3A RPI after the win at Morgan.
A few more wins this season could keep the Scots at No. 5 or boost them to No. 4. Either way, a No. 5 seed gets a first-round bye and a favorable second-round matchup with the possibility of advancing to a quarterfinal berth at Weber State.
Ogden woke up Friday morning with the No. 12 seed, which would also mean a home playoff game in the first round if the Tigers stayed between the Nos. 12-16 seeds at the end.
The issue with being No. 12 is that the Tigers were close to moving up to 11, which in the 3A classification means a team has a first-round bye, but would then play a second-round road game at the No. 6 seed.
If a team’s going to ultimately move up from 12, it needs to get to the No. 8 spot if it wants a home playoff game.
For now, though, Ogden can’t complain and neither can Ben Lomond, for that matter. Both teams are in a solid position heading forward.