WASHINGTON TERRACE — Here’s what a non-region basketball win against a much-bigger school in the same school district won’t do: It won’t improve your playoff seeding and it won’t put a trophy in the cabinet.
What Bonneville’s 62-53 win over Weber on Wednesday might do is give the Lakers a boost going forward.
Need to shut down an opponent’s offense for long enough to build a double-digit lead? Check.
Need to go inside and let your forwards work on one-on-one matchups? Check.
Need to keep an 8-12 point lead in that range late in the game? Check.
Need your bench to step up when your starters get in foul trouble in the first two minutes of the game? Checkmate.
“Credit our bench. We had DJ Frye who was sick all week, didn’t practice, pays attention to the game plan, comes in ready to go,” Bonneville head coach Kyle Bullinger said. “Joey Morgan (has) been a rock for us off the bench all year and Jordan Citte (is) a pretty dynamic little sophomore.”
It’ll show up in the box score as Frye having seven points, Morgan having one and Citte scoring zero. What didn’t show up is their individual defense forcing tough shots, bad passes and holding Weber to 21 points in the first half.
“It’s fun as a coaching staff when we can look down at our bench when we get in a bad situation and we completely trust those guys,” Bullinger said.
Those things are crucial in region games, especially in a region where four games are rivalry contests. They’re more crucial in a year, this one, where the Lakers could fight for more than just a playoff spot.
Bonneville led Weber 22-21 at halftime, fortunate to be in the lead after starters Zach Alspaugh and Hank Bushell sat for long stretches. Then came the third quarter and with it, the typical bandbox environment that Bonneville’s gym gets once a couple shots start to drop.
Kinnon Finder, who led the Lakers with 17 points and 10 rebounds, spun inside off Max Triplett for a layup. The Warriors turned it over, then a Finder 3-pointer made it 30-22 and forced a Weber timeout.
“We knew we had to come out and had to kick them through the floor,” said Alspaugh, who scored 15 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
Frye made an and-1, Weber was called for a technical foul, then Finder grabbed an offensive rebound before nailing a tough turnaround jumper. What was a 22-21 lead had ballooned to 37-22.
Alspaugh converted an athletic drive to end the third quarter. Spread between the buckets were a myriad of Weber turnovers and missed shots, a product of a depleted lineup and very aggressive defense by the Lakers.
“We knew this would be the toughest team we’ve faced this year, we’ve been really good at holding teams to low points and they scored (62) on us which, that hurts,” Weber head coach Ryan Jones said. “We’ve talked about the ways that we’re going to win games is to keep teams to lower scores.”
Injuries complicated matters for the Warriors. Senior center Braedon Iverson may miss the rest of the season with a knee injury and fellow senior Brandt Opheikens played Wednesday, but was limited.
Hudson Schenck led the Warriors with 18 points despite an array of hard close-outs, tight defending and the Lakers not switching screens on Schenck early in the game at the top of the key. Max Triplett had 12 with nine rebounds.
Along with the intrinsic benefits Bonneville gets for beating a much larger school at home in that particular fashion (with some added bragging rights for a student section that was nine rows deep) is a little statistical nugget.
It was the first time Bonneville had beaten Weber since 2010 and only the third time the Lakers had gotten the better of Weber since 2005.