TOOELE – Just a minute into the fourth quarter Mountain Crest was trailing Tooele 42-38, the closest they’d been since the game was 5-0 for the Buffaloes in the first quarter. Then, Pacsen McLaws hit a three, Justin Rogers stole the ball for a break away dunk and another turnover led to a Nate Benaud three and made it 50-38 in less than 90 seconds. The Mustangs couldn’t recover on the way to a 57-40 loss.
The road rims were not friendly to the Mustangs early, with them not making a field goal in the first quarter despite plenty of good looks. Mountain Crest was down 16-1 after the opening quarter and didn’t get closer than the four point 42-38 lead before back-to-back turnovers. They scored two points in the last five-plus minutes and looked deflated.
After giving up 14 made threes in the last game against Ogden, who were making just over six a game, Tooele hit two in the first quarter and Buffalo center Justin Rogers worked the free throw line with fellow big Julian Mahoe to pick it apart. Coach Kevin Andersen switched to a 3-2 zone, an uncommon look for the Mustangs, but Tooele coach Jed Thomas adjusted and got baseline looks. For the final three quarters Mountain Crest went exclusively man-to-man defense and allowed them to go on the run.
The big story was the top two scorers for both teams. Rogers and Mahoe averaged over 31 points a game on the season and they finished with 29. Rogers was the leading scorer with 17. Tanner Bone and Joseph Hunsaker average almost 21 a game for the Mustangs and were held to only nine combined points. Caden Jones was the leading scorer for Mountain Crest with 10, all in the first half, and the only double digit scorer.
Mountain Crest won the turnover battle with only nine, including none in the third quarter, to Tooele’s 14. However, the Mustang’s turnovers seemed to come at inopportune times and the back-to-back turnovers in the fourth were the back breakers for the game. For the second straight game senior point guard Nick Lefevre was not with the team after starting against Grace last Tuesday.