Timpanogos junior guard Trey Anderson may not have the same high-profile status as some of his teammates, since he was the team’s third-leading scorer (10.6 points per game).
But when he was needed during Tuesday’s 5A first round game against Timpview at the Dee Events Center in Ogden, he came up huge.
Anderson scored nine straight points in the second quarter to help erase an early Thunderbird lead, then soared into the air to catch a crucial cross-court pass that would’ve been a turnover in the final minutes to ensure the Timberwolves held on for the 61-57 win.
“We all believe in each other and anyone can step up on any night,” Timpanogos head coach Izzy Ingle said. “We got punched early and had to decide if we were going to fight or fold — and we fought. Our guys fight through adversity all the time. Trey is one of our most athletic players and he can fly but he’s actually been sick and missed three days of practice last week.”
Anderson said he did everything he could to get back on the court, since he didn’t want to miss out on a chance to play in the state tournament.
“I knew I needed to get better,” Anderson said. “I drank a lot of fluids, trying to get better as fast as I could.”
He also spent his time recovering watching film, which he said helped him be prepared when he recognized what Timpview was doing in its 2-3 zone defense.
“On film, I saw they crashed a lot on the high post but they weren’t doing that today,” Anderson said. “That meant when I got the ball in the high post, I had a 2-on-1 with my big and their big. I started to take it in. Once we started scoring, it allowed us to go inside-out and shoot 3-pointers.”
The Timberwolves had a rough time from long range in the first half, going 2-of-16 from beyond the arc.
“We usually start off great,” Ingle said. “I don’t know if it was jitters at the state tournament. Guys were maybe thinking too much instead of just playing basketball. We didn’t shoot well all game but we outscored them in the paint.”
It can be an tough balance to strike for a coach when his team isn’t making shots but he wants them to still be confident.
“Our board at halftime said, ‘go be the best version of us,’” Ingle said. “That was it. We were getting the shots we wanted but they just weren’t going in. But we told them to get to the paint a little more, that that would open up our 3-pointers.”
The poor shooting combined with some hot shooting from Timpview gave the T’Birds the early edge as they went up 26-13 early in the second quarter.
“We were decisive on offense and defense in the first quarter,” Timpview head coach Kevin Santiago said. “Then we got a little tight.”
That was when Anderson scored the last nine points of the half, sparking an 11-0 Timpanogos run going into halftime and giving the Timberwolves momentum at the break.
“We wanted to hit them hard coming out in the second half,” Anderson said. “We knew they wouldn’t give up but we wanted to give it our all for the next few minutes. We knew we weren’t playing our best but we focused on being physical and boxing out.”
Rebounding was big for Timpanogos as it got things rolling while the Thunderbirds cooled off, allowing the Timberwolves to built a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
But Timpview kept battling and was still within striking distance in the final minutes.
“I was really proud of them because there were two or three times that we could’ve rolled over,” Santiago said. “We kept fighting back. If the ball goes out of bounds on that pass (the one caught by Anderson) or if we make another shot or two, we would’ve gone into the final seconds with a chance to win or tie.”
Timpanogos, however, did just enough to hold on down the stretch and get the win.
The Timberwolves were led by 17 points from senior guard Colin Christensen, while senior Matt Norman added 13 points and Anderson finished with 11.
Timpview was paced by 18 points from senior Nate Hansen, while Kelson Jensen added 15 points.
Santiago said that he will miss the seniors on this year’s squad but knows the young players have a bright future.
“We had two seniors, four sophomores and a freshman in our rotation,” he said. “These guys did a tremendous job although it is a sad way to end.”
Timpanogos moves on to face the defending 5A state champs from Olympus in the quarterfinal round.
“We know this is a big game but to us it will be business as usual,” Anderson said. “The coaches will have a great game plan and we will do everything they say.”
The T’Wolves will face the Titans at the Dee Events Center in Ogden at 5:50 p.m. on Thursday.