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Timpview boys basketball shuts down Kearns, advances to 4A semifinals

By Jared Lloyd daily Herald - | Mar 2, 2016
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Timpview center AJ Bollinger (54) takes the ball to the hoop over Kearns forward Athian Tu Tu Majok (21) during the boys state 4A quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Timpview forward Gavin Baxter (25) is swarmed by Kearns defenders during the boys state 4A quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Timpview forward Gavin Baxter (25) is fouled at the hoop during the boys state 4A quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Timpview guard Levi Wilson (11) takes the ball to the hoop during the boys state 4A quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Timpview forward Gavin Baxter (25) takes the ball up the court during the boys state 4A quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Timpview center AJ Bollinger (54) takes the ball to the hoop over Kearns center Kur Kuath (35 )during the boys state 4A quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Timpview center AJ Bollinger (54) takes the ball to the hoop over Kearns center Kur Kuath (35) during the boys state 4A quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Timpview forward Gavin Baxter (25) takes the ball to the hoop over Kearns center Kur Kuath (35) during the boys state 4A quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Timpveiw cheerleaders laugh during the boys state 4A quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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A scrum ensues as players dive for the ball during the boys state 4A quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Timpview guard Hunter Eickson (10) attempts to intercept a pass during the boys state 4A quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Timpview forward Gavin Baxter (25) attempts a steal during the boys state 4A quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

SALT LAKE CITY — The Timpview boys basketball team had put the clamps down on Kearns for the majority of its 4A state quarterfinal game at the Huntsman Center Wednesday afternoon, yet early in the fourth quarter only led 42-39.

The Thunderbirds needed an “eagle.”

“We talk about getting three stops in a row and getting three baskets,” Timpview senior forward AJ Bollinger said. “We’d had chances to put them away but had let them back into it. We had to get stops.”

It also helps when you execute to perfection, which the Thunderbirds did twice in a row on key plays to spark a 16-3 run to close the game, giving Timpview the 58-42 win.

The first play? 

Well, when a team has an athlete like BYU-commit Gavin Baxter, that gives it some options.

The Thunderbirds set up a reverse spin off the block into an alley-oop that Baxter threw down with authority.

“The fires everyone up,” Bollinger said. “It gets us talking and moving around. We force them to take difficult shots then get the rebound and go.”

On the next trip after the ball got knocked out of bounds, Bollinger said he noticed Kearns wasn’t talking on defense so he called a back screen to the basket, where he got the easiest two of his 18 points.

“Those two plays broke their back,” Timpview head coach Kevin Santiago said. “We got three stops in a row and then hit our foul shots.”

The Cougars came in as the lower seeded team, but with their length and athleticism, the Thunderbirds knew they had their hands full.

“That’s a great team with great quickness,” Santiago said. “We played tough-nosed defense. We knew if we could hold them down then we could score inside. The guys played poised and got the ball where it needed to be.”

When the game started, however, Timpview was trying to do a little too much while still being hesitant going to the basket. Some inside scores by Bollinger — who scored eight of the first 13 points for his team — helped the T’Birds settle down.

“Getting established inside and scoring a few forced the defense to start helping down,” Bollinger said. “That opened up shots, inside out.”

Santiago calls Bollinger the best “pound-for-pound post player in the state” and loves his poise.

“He’s so patient,” Santiago said. “He gets the ball, buys his time, looks to see if the help is coming, then he’s quick to get it up. He was the key to the game.”

Bollinger and Baxter both had 18 points to lead Timpview, while Levi Wilson added 16. Baxter also had 12 rebounds and five assists.

Kearns was paced by 17 points from Nick Valles.

With the win, the Thunderbirds advance to face Highland in the 4A semifinals on Friday.

“This feels amazing,” Bollinger said. “I’ve never been this far in my four years. I’m excited and it should be a good game.”

That contest between Timpview and the Rams is scheduled to begin at 4:10 p.m. at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.

KEARNS (42): Buba 5, Hernandez 7, Kuath 2, Marteliz 5, Valles 17, Wada 2, Majok 4. Totals 12 15-19 42.

TIMPVIEW (58): C. Santiago 5, Baxter 18, Bollinger 18, Wilson 16, Ericson 1. Totals 20 14-18 58.

Kearns;12;10;13;7;–;42

Timpview;9;17;14;18;–;58

3-point goals: Kearns 3 (Valles, Marteliz, Hernandez), Timpview 4 (Wilson 2, Baxter, C. Santiago).

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