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Ogden • When things look bleak and you need baskets, most coaches give a nod or a wink to their best players. Sort of the go-ahead to take over things.
Skip Lowe gave that nod and wink to Parker Van Dyke on Tuesday morning. And Van Dyke, the East High star, took the Leopards across the finish line with a sprint.
East advanced to the Class 4A quarterfinal Thursday with a 68-62 win over Murray at the Dee Events Center. If Van Dyke, a Utah basketball commit, hadn't been in uniform, the Leopards most likely would be going home.
"Parker does a lot of things that you don't have to draw up plays for," Lowe said. "He's a pleasure to have because he's a leader out there and he's like having a coach on the floor."
Van Dyke, a 6-foot-3 point guard, scored a game-high 29 points against the Spartans. With the game close down the stretch, Van Dyke dropped in the last 11 points for East. He drove the lane. He got to the free-throw line. He went into full takeover mode.
"I just wanted to try and make something happen," Van Dyke said. "Our perimeter game wasn't working and I thought that by going to the basket and forcing the action things would kind of go our way a little bit."
Van Dyke added four rebounds and three assists while playing all 32 minutes. Mitch Grant, who scored 10 points, was the only other Leopard to score in double-digits. But Van Dyke was supported by great perimeter shooting. East knocked home 10 3-pointers.
Murray hung tough. A 12-0 run closed a double-digit deficit to just a single point with four minutes remaining. Nate Aland, a 6-10 senior, scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Freshman guard AJ Hodges dropped in 15 points to go with three steals and three assists.