HYRUM – Neither Mountain Crest, nor Box Elder, led by more than four points for the first 34 minutes of the game. Tied at 36 heading into the final period the Mustangs could not protect the ball. The Bees forced three turnovers to build and eight point lead over the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, and led by no less than seven the rest of the way. Mountain Crest fell to 0-4 with a 55-41 loss.
Preston Lofthouse was the only double-digit scorer for Mountain Crest at 13.3 points per game coming in, but played just a few minutes in the first half after picking up three fouls. Lofthouse didn’t start the third, but played more in the fourth before fouling out and finished with only four points. Oliver Nethercott stepped up, scoring a career high 18 points but was scoreless in the fourth quarter. Nethercott’s performance was only the fifth double digit scoring performance in four games for the Mustangs. Karson Falslev added eight points.
Cole Mortensen was the second leading scorer for Box Elder at 11.5 points per game, but was held to only two points with foul trouble. However, Elijah Kersey stepped up with 17 points. Kersey was averaging 9.5 points per game and was a game changer on defense, forcing turnovers and transition offense. The Mustangs couldn’t stop Box Elder’s leading scorer, Jackson Mckee, who finished with a game high 20 points. McKee was also 5-5 from the free throw line.
The Mustangs had tied or won the turnover battle in their first three games, averaging just over 13 a game, but had 21 to Box Elder’s 11. The Bees only had four turnovers in the second half but, even more problematic, the Bees were able to create transition throughout the game to keep the score close. Mountain Crest continues to be unable to get easy baskets off their forced turnovers.
In a game where several players were in foul trouble on both sides, Box Elder was better from the free throw line. The Bees were 7-8 from the charity stripe to the Mustangs’ 6-15. Mountain Crest is now 22-45 from the free throw line for the season, and 15-34 over the last three games. Another struggle for Mountain Crest had been the third quarter. Over the first two games they were outscored 36-5, but the last two games it was just 18-14. However, the Mustangs were outscored 19-5 in the final quarter against Box Elder.
Mountain Crest hosts Cedar Valley Friday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on 107.7 KLZX and video streamed here on Cache Valley Daily.