Sandy • Big Nate Aland trudged back to the Murray bench, upset after getting called for his second foul and muttering a guess that the man he just ran over weighed about 10 pounds.
Jordan's Brandon Pasker was plenty happy to see him go.
With the 6-foot-11 Aland on the bench for part of the first and the entire second quarters, the Spartans boys' basketball team struggled to convert in the post. Pasker and the Beetdiggers, meanwhile, found more room to work inside.
"I was pretty pumped I got the charge," said Pasker, who finished with a team-high 16 points to help lift his team to a 57-48 win in the semifinals of the Jordan Holiday Tournament on Saturday.
When Aland returned in the second half, the big man got back to scoring, dumping in Murray's next seven points. But Aland got precious little help from his teammates.
Dylan Ross, who scored 21 in a win against Riverton earlier in the week, went cold and finished with just three points. Leading scorer Chase Topham was held to seven.
"Our plan was to focus more on [Ross and Topham]," Jordan coach Rob Geertsen said. "We figured that Aland was going to get at least 10 from putbacks and because he's so big."
The Beetdiggers swarmed Murray's swingmen on the defensive end.
And on the other side of the court, Jordan's ball movement led to open jump shots.
Pasker's co-captain, McKay Nilsson, knocked down three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points. Senior guard Jonas Jones hit two from outside en route to nine points.
"I've got good teammates," Pasker said. "They knock down shots."
Jordan improved to 9-2 and advanced to the finals of its tournament. The Beetdiggers will face East and Parker Van Dyke on Monday night at Jordan High School.
Pasker and the Diggers have faced Van Dyke, who Geertsen called "the best guard in the state," twice before.
"We won once and we lost once," Pasker said. "I'm excited to play them again."
At Jordan High
10 a.m. • Hunter vs. Copper Hills
11:45 a.m. • Bonneville vs. American Fork
1:30 p.m. • Timpview vs. Layton
3:15 p.m. • Murray vs. Juan Diego
5 p.m. • Jordan vs. East
At Juan Diego High
1:30 p.m. • Sky View vs. Riverton
11:45 a.m. • Cyprus vs. Skyline
3:15 p.m. • Summit Academy vs. Taylorsville