By Harvey Brock
Friday night's game between the Box Elder Bears and visiting Big Sandy Pioneers was a story of two games.
The Box Elder Bears outhustled the Pioneers to lead 35-29 at halftime. Paced by the outside shooting of sophomore point guard Neal Rosette's 22 points, the Bears seemed to get every loose ball and rebound.
Big Sandy, down 12 points with one minute gone in the second half, rallied to pull within one at the end of the third quarter. Jay Jamison's free throw, the result of a technical foul called on Box Elder coach Bobby Small, closed out the third period.
Big Sandy took advantage of Box Elder's foul trouble, and took the lead for good at the start of the fourth period and held off the Bears for a hard-fought victory.
Big Sandy coach Roy Lackner knew his team was in for a tough game. "When you come into the Bears' den, you had better be ready to play," he said. The Big Sandy coach thought defense was the difference in the game. "Our kids are young, I think they spend too much time watching the NBA. All they want to do is play offense, but in the second half they listened to the coaches and played better defense. We have a young team that is improving with every game and I was proud of their effort in the second half. All of the 9-C teams are tough this year. There are no cupcakes, and Box Elder is as good as anybody in the league "
Big Sandy sophomore Gage Brumwell led all scorers with 23 points. Brumwell thought his team's second-half composure was the difference in the game. "We didn't play the greatest in the first half, but in the second half we kept our composure and got the job done," he said.
Box Elder coach Bobby Small, while disappointed in the loss, was proud of his team's effort. "Our guys are really coming along. We made too many turnovers, 25 for the team and probably 10 were unforced. We will need to work on that in practice."
Coach Small thought the loss of point guard Neal Rosette to fouls hurt his team, but was happy with the overall play of his bench. "When our starters got into foul trouble, I thought our guys played a bit tentative. I told the guys to keep playing their game; I know we have guys on the bench that can play. We played nine guys and I thought they all did a good job."