Bear River High advanced to play for the 4A title with a come-from-behind, 50-49 win over Bonneville in the state tournament semifinals played Friday on the campus of Southern Utah University.
Luke Dixon converted two foul shots, the only free throws Bonneville made on the night, to give the Lakers a 38-31 lead with 2:21 left in the third quarter. The Lakers built that lead with quality defense and several offensive rebound putbacks from Hank Bushell and Kinnon Finder.
Bear River answered with a 15-4 run across the rest of the third quarter and and into the fourth, capped by a Wyatt Roholt layup, to take a 46-42 lead with 3:28 left in the game.
A Bushell putback and a Jordan Citte 3-pointer gave Bonneville the lead back: 47-46 with 2:15 left.
Mark Huber hit two free throws to put the Bears back in front with 1:27 left, only to see Zach Alspaugh’s jumper give the Lakers a 49-48 lead with 67 seconds left.
Ren Fonnsbeck hit a layup off an inbounds play with 40.7 seconds left to put the Bears ahead for good.
Parker Coombs was fouled with 4.2 seconds left after rebounding a Bonneville miss and had a chance to increase the BR advantage, but missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Bonneville rebounded and pushed the ball up the court, but Jordan Citte’s twisting reverse layup try bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Huber and Roholt each scored 15 points for Bear River. Coombs added 13 and Fonnesbeck had five points. The Bears went 17-20 from the free throw line and hit five 3-pointers.
Alspaugh led the Lakers with 12 points and two 3-pointers. Citte scored 11 with three treys, Bushell had 10, Finder netted eight and Dixon added six points .
Bonneville’s defense held Bear River to nine points in the third quarter and 19 points below the Bears’ per-game scoring average. The Lakers’ season ends with a 17-7 record overall after their first state semifinal appearance since 2003.
Bear River takes a 21-6 record into Saturday’s championship game, where the Bears will be playing for their fourth state title. BR will face Sky View in an all-Region 12 title game.
The Bobcats beat Bear River twice in the regular season (83-69 at home and 77-52 at BR) and advanced to the finals with a 70-60 win over Payson. BR’s last title-game appearance was in 2013, a loss to Morgan. The Bears won state titles in 2009, 2000 and 1959 previously.