SMITHFIELD – Garrett Austin was doubled under his own hoop when he found Braxton Harris all alone at the three point line, for his only bucket of the game, to cut the Desert Hills’ lead to five. With four minutes left the Mustangs trailed 37-32 after the clutch bucket. The Mustangs and Thunder traded two point baskets over the next three minutes before Mountain Crest sent Thunder players to the line. Eli Allred closed the door, making all six of his free throws over the last minute for the 47-37 Desert Hills win.
The Thunder missed their first eight free throws, including their first in the fourth quarter, but made their last 11 to close out the game. The Mustangs struggled at the charity stripe for a second straight night, going 8-14. The night before Cedar was 6-12 from the free throw line, while Mountain Crest was only 1-5. Against Pine View the Mustangs were 7-11 to the Panther’s 7-10, but could not carry that success through the weekend of the North vs South Showcase.
Going into the fourth Mountain Crest had their chance to strike when Joseph Hunsaker hit a three to open the quarter, cutting the lead to 33-29, and then Lincoln Holmes picked up his fourth foul 40 seconds in. Holmes finished with a game high 14 points, but when he went to the bench no Thunder player had more than six points. Miles Croshaw went to the line with a one-and-one to cut it to one possession and missed the front end. On the next possession, Landon Epslin hit a big, wide open three in the corner, his only points, to push the led back to seven. Center Eric Olsen got a steal and on the breakaway missed a dunk that would have put the Thunder up nine with just over five minutes left. It was a break for the Mustangs but they could not get any closer than a five point deficit.
The third quarter has been a weakness for Mountain Crest to start the season, being outscored 36-5 in the first two games of the season. The Mustangs only scored three points in the third against Desert Hills, but held the Thunder to only six points. Closing out games continues to be a struggle for Mountain Crest, who had chances against Pine View and Desert Hills to win the game.
Preston Lofthouse scored in double digits for the third straight game, finishing with a team high 11 points. Eight players scored for the Mustangs, and Trevis Leiser finished second with seven points and has been a boost for the team after not playing the opening game. Holmes led all scorers with 14 points and Allred was also in double figures, finishing with 12 for Desert Hills. Seven players scored for the Thunder.
Mountain Crest hosts (1-1) Box Elder Tuesday night in Hyrum at 7:30 p.m.