Sandy • Friday's region basketball game between Alta and Jordan had everything, whether it was the emotion, physicality or controversial calls.
Raw emotion won out in the end.
Despite almost wasting a 19-point fourth quarter lead, the Hawks held on to defeat the visiting Beetdiggers 67-59 in the return of Elijah Glissmeyer. The junior center, who fell about 60 feet off a cliff side at Lake Powell in October, made his season debut for the Hawks and scored eight points.
"He's been working hard with us at practice, and it was nice to see him out there," Alta's Trevor Hill said about Glissmeyer, who fractured or broke several bones in the incident. "It was great to have him with us."
Alta coach Jim Barker continues to be amazed by Glissmeyer's recovery.
"He literally should be dead," Barker said. "He fractured his pelvis, nose, arm and had a punctured lung. It was his first game back tonight. I'm so proud of him."
The Hawks needed every bit of the boost Glissmeyer provided. Alta (6-2, 11-8) led 59-40 midway through the fourth quarter before Jordan stormed back. The Beetdiggers (5-3, 15-6) came within six points (65-59) on Adam Jorgensen's free throws with 24 seconds remaining, but they couldn't get any closer.
While Jordan was the aggressive one the last time the teams met, winning 68-57 in overtime, Alta turned the tables on its longtime rival Friday.
"Tonight we were more attack-minded, but I didn't understand why we weren't at the end," Barker said. "You score six points at that point, and it's pretty hard for teams to come back. We focused on being more aggressive and attacking."
That mentality was evident. Jordan racked up 12 fouls in the first half alone and had several players in early foul trouble. The game got out of hand in the second half, when the teams combined for 30 fouls, including three technicals.
"The flow was just weird in this game," Barker said.
Still, the Hawks mostly kept their composure. Hill and Landon Albrecht both scored 15 points, while Zach Rollins added 14, including three 3-pointers.
Jordan's Brandon Pasker scored 20 points before fouling out.
"When he got in foul trouble, that helped take away size from them," Hill said about Pasker. "Coach harked on us in practice to not let up and don't be afraid to fail. Losing to them last time fueled us big time. It was a hard loss for us."
Pasker and Albrecht led their respective teams in the first half. Pasker had 14 points in the first half despite dealing with foul trouble, and Albrecht netted 13. The duo combined to attempt 15 free throws in the first half.
Jordan led 9-3 early before Alta used a 29-10 run to take control. Carter Heslop's 3-pointer gave the Hawks a 36-21 lead shortly before halftime.
Alta held a 31-19 rebound advantage. Hill grabbed 12 rebounds and Albrecht nine.