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DIVISION I-A BOYS: Jaguars shake off slow start, earn trip to state

Desert Pines ran into a detour Thursday when, rather than playing a Division I-A Southern Region semifinal game against Cheyenne, the Jaguars were told they would instead play in the semifinals Friday against Boulder City.

But it didn’t derail the No. 2 Jaguars’ plans to make state and play for a region title.

And after stumbling a little early on, Desert Pines found some traction in the second quarter and rolled to a 66-47 victory over Boulder City at Del Sol.

The Jaguars (25-3) clinched a berth in next week’s Division I-A state tournament. And they will take on No. 3-ranked Clark for the Southern Region championship at 7:45 p.m. Saturday at Sunrise Mountain.

The road to tonight’s game became complicated for the Jaguars after Cheyenne was forced to forfeit Tuesday’s quarterfinal victory over Boulder City for using ineligible players. The Desert Shields self-reported the incident and the NIAA removed them from the tournament.

Coby Myles, who led Desert Pines with 13 points, said riding the bus to Sunrise Mountain on Thursday only to be told there was no game was miserable.

“I didn’t like it at all,” Myles said. “Last night we were up, and were ready for the second round of the playoffs. Then they canceled the game and (at the time) no one knew why.”

Fast forward to Friday and the Jaguars got off to a slow start as Kaleb Bailey hit a driving basket to give the Eagles an 8-7 lead with 2:45 left in the first quarter.

“What happened last night definitely contributed to this game,” Myles said.

But fast-break baskets by Jesse Martin and Myles jump-started the Jaguars, and they scored the last eight points of the quarter to take a 15-8 lead.

Desert Pines then seized control in the second by getting its transition game in gear. A jumper and driving layup by Tim Hough sparked the key 13-0 run that put the Jaguars in command at 38-17.

“We definitely got in our groove the second quarter,” Myles said. “Everyone got involved. The subs came in a did their part. The second group was a big part of this game for us.”

Jaguars coach Mike Uzan said despite the roller coaster his team went through — which was illustrated by Uzan having the game plan for Thursday’s ill-fated game still scribbled on the back of his clipboard Friday — his team’s focus was good heading into the game with the Eagles.

He attributed the early struggles on offense to Boulder City’s effort.

“They are a good, physical team,” Uzan said. “We have seen them twice before this season, so they are used to us. They are not bad at all.”

Boulder City (16-10) had its own interesting journey coming into Friday’s game.

The Eagles’ season came to a supposed end Tuesday after they lost to Cheyenne. Players had already turned in their uniforms before they found out they would be playing again after Cheyenne’s forfeit.

But after using their zone defense to stay even with Desert Pines early, the Eagles unraveled in the second quarter, shooting just 16 percent (3-for-19) in the period, which was a big part of their undoing.
Bailey led Boulder City with 14 points, and Chris Nilsen scored 13.

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