Sandy • Rest assured, the panic button wasn't about to be pressed at any point during Jordan's boys' basketball game against Cottonwood on Tuesday.
Despite wasting an early 14-point lead, the Beetdiggers showed their mettle in the second half, distancing themselves once again from the visiting Colts en route to a 69-48 region victory. Jordan led 18-4 early but trailed before halftime.
"You've got to go hard the whole time," Jordan's Chandler Smith said about the lesson learned from the game. "You can't take any team for granted. They're a good team. They fought and we let down a little bit. But we were focusing more in the second half and doing what we're taught to do."
Cottonwood (5-10), which had lost its first three region games by an average of 26 points, rose to the challenge after the early deficit. Brendan Guzman's free throw capped a 25-10 run and gave the Colts their only lead of the game, 29-28.
The Colts came within two points (36-34) moments into the second half before the Beetdiggers rebuilt the lead to double digits. The third quarter proved to be the biggest momentum changer. Cottonwood committed 10 turnovers and 10 fouls in the period alone. The Colts finished with 24 turnovers and 26 fouls.
Jordan coach Rob Geertsen sounded relieved after the game.
"We're the team that finished the game more than the team that let them back in," Geertsen said. "I think they learned to play 32 minutes and have no let up at all. I have a lot of confidence in the team. I felt they buckled down and settled down. We were able to get stops and expand the lead."
After allowing 32 points in the first half, Jordan's defense surrendered only 16 in the second half. The Beetdiggers (13-4) put together a pair of long scoring spurts in the second half 13-3 during the third quarter and 16-4 in the fourth.
"We went man to man and played our shell defense in the second half," Geertsen said. "The defense came together and shut them down."
Guzman's basket got the Colts within 53-44 early in the fourth quarter before the Beetdiggers finished the game with their final run.
After dealing with foul trouble and being limited to just five points in the first half, Jordan's Brandon Pasker finished with 17 points to lead all scorers. Marcus Gutierrez added 15 points, and Smith had 13 for the Beetdiggers. Zach Scott had 11 points off the bench to lead Cottonwood, while Guzman scored 10.
Jordan took advantage of its opportunities from the foul line, converting 26 of its 37 free-throw attempts compared to 9 of 17 for Cottonwood.