Eyes of the Tigers: Orem boys basketball gets rivalry win at Mountain View
Tuesday night’s Region 8 crosstown rivalry battle with Orem playing at Mountain View featured a pair of impressive freshmen.
Bruin freshman Bryce Mella and Tiger freshman Anthony Felesi lined up against each other for much of the game with each having their moments.
Mella ended up getting more points, leading all scorers with 22 points including draining four 3-pointers — but when his team needed a play, Felesi came up big.
Orem went up by as many as 13 points in the first half but the third quarter belonged to Mountain View.
The Bruins came all the way back to take a 44-43 late in the quarter and the outcome was in the balance.
But Felesi drove in for a layup to put the Tigers back in front, then knocked down a pull-up jumper to give Orem a lead it wouldn’t give up again.
Mountain View never quit but ran out of time to make another comeback and the Tigers got the 69-63 win.
“It was a good road win for us in a region game, a rivalry game,” Orem head coach Jace Tavita said. “We have young kids. I look at my box score and we got 16 points from a freshman (Felesi), 14 from a sophomore and 15 from a sophomore. So we’re just young, but it’s great. The guys are learning how to win games in these tough environments and these tough games. I’m proud of them, how they battled back.”
He lauded Felesi’s performance, noting that his contribution goes beyond the box score.
“Anthony is really special,” Tavita said. “He’s leading the team right now and we are 9-6. Bryce is a great player and is scoring a lot of points, but it’s been tough for them to get wins. But it’s good to see young guys go out and be put in positions where they can do their things. Anthony can score it, attack the rim, pass, everything. It’s fun to coach kids like that.”
Tavita said that when the game was on the line heading into the fourth quarter, he liked how his team answered when it had to.
“We talk about basketball is a game of runs,” Tavita said. “It was important to stop their run and kind of stop the bleeding. Then we needed to do to get out and run. That’s where we can be really special. We challenged our guys at the quarter break and said, hey, let’s go win this quarter. And that’s what we did.”
In addition to Felesi’s 16 points, Orem got 15 from sophomore forward Trey Hiatt and 14 from sophomore guard Chase Dastrup.
Mountain View also got 15 points from senior Taylor Hamblin.
Tavita hopes his Tigers take confidence from this performance and use it in some of the showdowns coming up.
“We can be on the road, have a big lead, lose it, then buckle down, get stops and get the lead back,” Tavita said. “Doing that in a tough environment, I think that is just a huge confidence boost for our young guys especially.”
Orem (9-6) now turns its at attention to a big home contest against Timpview on Friday, while Mountain View (3-14) will try to get back to winning when the Bruins head to Jordan the same evening.
Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
Mountain View girls basketball proves to be too much for Orem
The Bruins certainly had more on the line when they hosted the Tigers made the short trip across Orem for the Region 8 contest on Tuesday. Mountain View couldn’t risk falling further behind the top teams in the league, while Orem had lost three straight.
But rivalry contests are never a sure bet and the Tigers were determined to give it their all to attempt to get the upset.
Orem stayed with the Bruins for much of the first half, trailing just 19-15 midway through the second quarter.
But Mountain View closed the half out with a 9-2 run to push its lead to double digits. The Tigers tried to put together a late rally but the Bruins had enough answers to get the 50-38 win.
Mountain View got explosive play from junior Kate Shirts, who got some big layups during the second-quarter push. Senior Lili Suguturaga also came up with key baskets inside.
The Bruin defense was also a big factor as the home team used its size and athleticism to limit Orems good looks.
Mountain View (7-6) next play at Jordan on Friday, while Orem (4-10) will host Timpview on the same evening.
Both games are scheduled to begin at 5:15 p.m.