WOODS CROSS – The rivalry game between the Bountiful Braves and Woods Cross Wildcats boys’ basketball team Friday night was over before it began.
The Braves, winners of 14 straight entering play, held the high-paced, quick scoring Wildcats to just four points in the first quarter. Bountiful countered with 26 points, and defensively dominated the rest of the game in a 75-50 win.
“That set the tone for our defense, and Jordan Bleak really got it going with three or four steals in that first quarter,” said Bountiful coach Mike Maxwell. “When you’re doing things like that as a team the rest of the game takes care of itself. Right now, they’re doing everything right.”
Bleak picked up three steals in the first quarter, and scored 10 of the Braves first quarter points in order to help Bountiful take the lead.
The offensive scoring spilled into the second quarter with the Braves scoring 23 points. Jeff Pollard took over the scoring, scoring the first six points. Bleak and Sam Merrill chipped in with six more points, and Bountiful took a 49-20 lead after the first half.
“That’s all on the defense,” Maxwell said. “All of a sudden a guy can’t look up to make a pass because he’s got to worry about the guy on him playing defense, which wouldn’t allow him to see the pass. That’s what we like to do.”
Bountiful and Woods Cross each scored 15 points in the third quarter, and the Braves were outscored in the fourth quarter 15-11, but the damage had already been done by the Braves.
Bleak was the last of the starting lineup to exit the floor, scoring four points in the fourth quarter to finish with 14 in the game.
Overall, Bountiful had four players finish in double figures, led by Pollard’s 20 points. With three games left on its schedule, Bountiful assured itself a Region 6 title.
“It’s really fun to watch them right now,” Maxwell said. “I’m just sitting back and really enjoying this group right now. It’s a special group and they’re a special team, and they’re playing at a caliber that not many teams can match. They’re just doing everything right.”
The Braves will face Highland on the road Tuesday at 7 p.m.