Ogden • Bountiful junior Pere Le Sueur gleamed when Braves coach Mike Maxwell told his forward that he drew the assignment of guarding one of the premier players in the state in Roy star Brekkott Chapman
"He was so excited when I told him to man-up on him and try and shut him down," Maxwell said.
Le Sueur, along with much of this year's Braves team, is close friends with Chapman. Many of the Braves are on the same club team as Chapman, so Le Sueur didn't back away when the challenge came his way to defend his club teammate.
Bountiful handcuffed the Royal junior, holding him to just two points and no field goals in Thursday's 50-44 Class 4A quarterfinal victory at the Dee Events Center. It was the 20th consecutive victory for the Braves, who move on to face Sky View in Friday's state semifinal.
"Pere is a guy that's willing to take a challenge, and he did an awesome job tonight," said junior Sam Merrill, who finished with 13 points.
As did Merrill, who, alongside sophomore forward Zac Seljaas, spearheaded a fourth-quarter comeback after surrendering the lead for the first time in the game with 6 minutes, 21 seconds left.
Merrill followed by drilling a jumper, then he found Seljaas for a wide-open layup and hit three free throws during a fourth quarter where the Braves outscored the Royals 14-9.
"That's the way Sam is," Maxwell said. "He just does what it takes."
Seljaas, who had a game-high 18 points, once again was a mismatch for the opposition. He mixed his inside-out game to perfection and ended each of the first two quarters with 3-point baskets and attacked the hoop.
"That sophomore doesn't know the big stage yet," said Maxwell, adding Seljaas doesn't even possess a driver's license yet. "He just plays."
Bountiful willed its way past fantastic performances by Roy seniors Jesse Wayment (16 points) and David Hadley (13 points), who paced the Royals offensively.
"You can't really expect a blowout here," Merrill said. "It's the quarterfinals everyone is going to bring it."
The same can be expected of the team looking to halt the Braves' win streak at 20 the Sky View Bobcats, headlined by Jalen Moore, Ty Nielsen and Matt Dewey.
Maxwell said the gameplan, much like it was for Roy and Chapman, is to turn loose Le Sueur on Moore.
"I think it's kind of a mirror image of what we just saw," the coach said.