Prep boys' basketball • Merrill scores 29 in win.
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With his team up by double digits going into the fourth quarter Tuesday night at East High School, Bountiful coach Mike Maxwell gave his squad a quick history lesson about what the Leopards did last week against Herriman.
"We knew their game last week they came back from 22 [down in the fourth quarter to win]," Bountiful junior guard Sam Merrill said. "Coach was harping that we needed to come out as a team and put them away, and I think we did a good job of that."
After squeaking out wins against Herriman and Woods Cross last week, East never got close against Bountiful, losing 74-50.
Merrill led a Braves cast that dominated inside and out. The Utah State commit hit three of his team's 10 treys and used his deceptive speed to slash through the East defense on his way to the rim. He finished with a game-high 29 points.
Bountiful sophomore Zac Seljaas put in 19 more for the Braves (11-3).
"He's a great player," Merrill said about Seljaas. "He's a knock-down shooter, and when he's feeling it, he's good."
East star Parker Van Dyke, who didn't take a shot in the first quarter and finished well below his average with just 10 points, made no excuses for himself or his team following the loss.
"I just feel like we got outplayed overall," he said. "They just kind of wanted it more than us."
The Braves put plenty of pressure on Van Dyke, blanketing him with two defenders nearly every time he brought the ball up the floor. Van Dyke pushed the ball ahead, but his usually reliable teammates couldn't capitalize.
"It was a frustrating game overall," Van Dyke said. "I didn't get the shots off that I normally do, and we weren't hitting the shots we normally hit."
East made a run in a third quarter peppered with highlights, including a half-court outlet from Van Dyke to Mitch Grant for a one-handed dunk.
Grant led East with 20 points but struggled to find his touch at times. John Fakahafua added 10 for the Leopards (12-3) after coming off the bench.
"[Van Dyke] is a guy that you're not going to stop," Merrill said. "You've just got to slow him down. We know one guy can't stop him, so it was a whole team effort. ... And we made sure those other guys didn't beat us."