WASHINGTON TERRACE — Northridge and Bonneville High earned a solid ‘10’ for entertainment value to begin their respective boys basketball seasons as the Knights pulled out a 68-67 nailbiter at Bonneville High Tuesday night.
Northridge senior Alec Duffin led all scorers with 19 points, 17 of them in the first half, in what Knights head coach Lyndon Johnson called “as good a first game as I’ve coached…ever.” Sophomore Luke Dixon paced the selfless Laker offense with 12 points.
Junior Tyler Hancock netted the first bucket of the Lakers’ regular season with an and-1 reverse under the hoop as both Bonneville and Northridge opened the game with intensity, physicality and hot shooting in the first quarter, which ended in a 23-21 Northridge lead.
In the second, the Knights provided arguably the play of the game when a Laker fastbreak looked primed to finish with a Kinnon Finder dunk, but the 6-foot-4 Duffin chased it down for a block off the glass, and Northridge’s Trey Simms made a transition 3-pointer that put the Knights up by six and sent a sizable visiting Northridge fan section into pandemonium.
Try as they might, the Knights led 43-39 at halftime could not shake the Lakers, who kept the game within reach despite trailing nearly the entire first half.
Bonneville gained momentum after halftime and started to clamp down on defense. Eventually, the Lakers tied the game up at 45 and took a 51-49 lead a few possessions later on a made three.
Bonneville held the Knights to a mere eight points in the third to take a 54-51 lead, capped off by a block by Finder. With the game tied at 64 inside of three minutes left in the game, both teams traded baskets and the Lakers led by as much as seven.
But the Knights came back and were ahead by two on the final possession when Bonneville senior Hank Bushell drew a foul to get to the line with 12 seconds left.
Bushell missed the second free throw, but a Laker rebound gave Bonneville a final chance. With eight seconds left, a prayer of a three was wide left, securing a Northridge win.
The Knights take on Wasatch Monday at 1 p.m. at Vivint Smart Home Arena, while Bonneville will travel to Logan next Friday, Nov. 30.