Things couldn’t have started out a whole lot bleaker for the Payson boys basketball team in Friday’s 4A semifinal game at SUU against Sky View.
The Lions found themselves in a hole almost immediately as the Bobcats controlled the first half, rolling to a 36-17 first half lead.
Payson refused to fold and got close enough to be dangerous, but in the end Sky View was able to secure the 70-60 win, eliminating the Lions.
“In the first half, our shots weren’t falling,” Lion head coach Anthony Mitchell said in a phone interview. “We adjusted some things at halftime and started getting better looks. We came back and got to within 10 points a couple of times. We just couldn’t make it all the way back.”
Mitchell said Sky View’s Mason Falslev just played lights out, scoring 35 points to lead the way for the Bobcats.
“We had no answer for him,” Mitchell said. “He is tough to guard and he took his game up another notch.”
Payson seniors like Logan Sorensen tried to get the Lions on track and many made some big plays as the Lions looked to rally.
“Sorensen has been our guy all year and he made some big plays and big shots down the stretch,” Mitchell said. “Almost everyone made plays and pitched in. That’s been our thing this year. If everyone does that, we can be pretty good. In the second half that happened but in the first half, not so much.”
He said that his players came in confident after getting the dramatic 78-76 win in the 4A quarterfinals on Thursday but just couldn’t find their rhythm soon enough.
Even though Payson’s season came to a close, Mitchell said his team had plenty to be positive about.
“I’m so proud of these guys,” he said. “We had a great talk in the locker room and all the seniors shared what learned through basketball, how they will apply those lessons in life. We wanted to win state but the things that stay with you are the friendships and all the things sports teach. I was proud of them and I know all of Payson is proud of this team.”
The Lions will lose six seniors but Mitchell said he has some guys waiting in the wings.
“We have some great young kids coming up,” he said. “Our young guys pushed seniors every day in practice. One of the things the seniors said is that they are excited to see what Payson basketball will do in the future.”
Sky View advanced to face Bear River in Saturday’s 4A finals at SUU.