Hurricanes and Spartans among winning teams on last day

Vikings Jayden Kunz goes up for a layup in transition. Photo credit: Trey Wilkinson

On Saturday, eight teams were in action on the last day of the regular season. The Titans beat the Freeze, 101-94; the Spartans defeated the Hawks, 93-87; the Vikings beat the Wolverines, 91-40; and the Hurricanes took down the Knights, 105-90.

Freeze vs. Titans

The day started with the Freeze taking on the Titans at the BYU-Idaho Center on court 4 at 10 a.m. Freeze Elliot McAlister connected with teammate Jensen Riley off an early pick-and-roll, leading to a dunk for Riley. However, the Titans led after the first quarter, 23-21

Early in the second quarter, Titan Kolten Bevans hit a transition 3-pointer to give them a 38-35 lead. However, Freeze Jedediah Baldwin responded with a three of his own to tie the game. The teams went into halftime, tied at 49.

Titan Easton Thompson rises up for one of his many three pointers of the day.
Titan Easton Thompson rises up for one of his many three pointers of the day. Photo credit: Trey Wilkinson

The Freeze started the third quarter with a 17-7 run and was leading 66-56 four minutes into the quarter. However, Titan Easton Thompson hit three 3-pointers in a row, and the Freeze only led 79-72 entering the fourth quarter. The Titans retook the lead on a dunk by Bevans. Justin Radford then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to ice it for the Titans, and they came away with a 7-point victory.

“I just saw that it was an open shot,” Radford said. “When it came down to it I was just ready to go. I practice that shot all the time, so I was able to step up confidently.”

Radford mentioned the keys to stunting the Freeze run in the third quarter.

“We just had to get back to what we’re good at and playing strong defense,” Radford said. “We lost our flow there for a little bit but we regained composure.”

The Titans end the season with a 3-6 record and the Freeze end the season with a 4-5 record. They will be the seventh and sixth seed in the playoffs, respectively.

According to Radford, the Titans are ready for the playoffs, despite their low seeding.

“There’s a lot of confidence for us going in,” Radford said. “We’ve had a lot of close games this season that we’ve lost, but we’re excited for the play-in game. We think we’re dangerous and we can make a run.”

Hawks vs. Spartans

Also at 10 a.m., but on BYU-Idaho Center court 8, the Hawks and Spartans battled it out. The Spartans led 31-21 after the first quarter. The Hawks started the second quarter with an 11-2 run to reduce the Spartans’ lead to three, 40-37. But the Spartans went on their own run, a 14-5 run to push their lead to 13 at halftime, 57-44.

The Hawks made another comeback in the third and led heading into the fourth after Kade Hall scored five straight points in the last 90 seconds of the quarter. The Hawks led 70-68.

But the Spartans responded, and two fourth-quarter transition dunks by Jarom Scott led the way as the Spartans outscored the Hawks by 27-17 in the fourth.

Spartan Jarom Scott flushes home a dunk en route to a win over the Hawks.
Spartan Jarom Scott flushes home a dunk en route to a win over the Hawks. Photo credit: Trey Wilkinson

Spartan coach, Logan Thompson, discussed how the Spartans were able to keep coming back.

“We’re a small team and we know we’re small, so we play aggressive,” Thompson said. “We tried to make sure they didn’t get fast breaks because they like to do that.”

The Spartans end the season with a 5-4 record and will be the fourth seed heading into the playoffs. The Hawks end the season with a 2-7 record and will be the ninth seed.

Vikings vs. Wolverines

On BYU-Idaho Center court 4 at noon, the Vikings defeated the Wolverines by 51 points. The Vikings led the entire game and built on their lead in every quarter.

Vikings Jayden Kunz goes up for a layup in transition.
Vikings Jayden Kunz goes up for a layup in transition. Photo credit: Trey Wilkinson

Before the game began, the two teams were locked into the 7 and 10 seeds and will play each other again on Wednesday. The Wolverines did not play one of their starting players and gave most of the minutes to the bench unit.

Viking coach, Braxton Bearden, was not surprised about the Wolverines’ strategy.

“We had heard they might not start their starters,” Bearden said. “They didn’t, and it showed. I mean we (beat them by 50). It felt really good though.”

Bearden said that the Vikings will need to change things up before Wednesday’s rematch.

“We can’t do the same thing twice in a row and expect it to work,” Bearden said. “We’re going to make some changes.”

The Wolverines end the season with a 3-6 record, and the Vikings end the season with a 1-8 record.

Hurricanes vs. Knights

The last game of the day was played between the Hurricanes and the Knights.

The game was tied up at 28 after the first quarter after McKay Shippen made a corner 3-pointer with seconds left on the clock.

His twin brother, Tyler Shippen, gave the Hurricanes a two-point lead in the second quarter after a midrange jumper. The Hurricanes led at halftime 51-50.

McKay Shippen hit a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer off of a pindown screen in the third quarter to push the Hurricanes’ lead even further. The Hurricanes led 74-66 after the third quarter.

Hurricane McKay Shippen rises up for a floater in victory over Knights.
Hurricane McKay Shippen rises up for a floater in victory over Knights. Photo credit: Trey Wilkinson

An early fourth-quarter run from the Hurricanes pushed the game beyond the Knights’ reach, giving the Hurricanes a 15-point win and completing their undefeated season.

Knight’s guard Taggart Chandler said that despite the back-to-back losses to end the season, they are ready for the playoffs.

“We hustle every game and I think out of all the teams, we hustle the most,” Chandler said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get this one, but I think when playoffs come we’ll play hard, hustle and play smart.”

The Hurricanes finish the season 9-0 and are the first seed, while the Knights finish with a 5-4 record and will be the fifth seed.

The Knights will play the Spartans in the quarterfinals.

“We played the Spartans the first game of the season and they beat us,” Chandler said. “We’re going to be hungry when we play them.”

The Knights were the third seed heading into the game but dropped to fifth because they lost to the other two teams that also have 5-4 records, the Spartans and the Bruins.

According to Trent Shippen, the competitive basketball sports advisor at BYU-Idaho, if teams have the same record, the first tiebreaker that is used is the head-to-head matchup outcomes. This means that if two teams have the same record, whoever won the regular season game between those two teams would have the higher seed.

The playoff bracket can be viewed on the Campus Recreation website here.

The playoffs will begin on Wednesday night, as the Wolverines take on the Vikings and the Titans take on the Hawks in the BYU-Idaho Center.