Bountiful’s defense had another lights out performance Monday night in the opening round of the 4A state tournament holding Timpview to just 33 points. It’s kind of getting ridiculous how good these Braves are defensively.
Of Bountiful’s past seven opponents, only two have broke 40 points, with Cyprus scoring 40 on Feb. 10 and Woods Cross scoring 45 on Feb. 16. Following Monday’s playoff win, Bountiful dropped its scoring defense down to 43.6 ppg.
“That’s what we work on a lot. That’s one of our main things. Coaches says that defense wins games in the state tournament cause everyone gets tired,” said Bountiful’s Dain Murdock.
All coaches talk about defense, but this particular group of players just gets it, and is athletic enough to execute the game plan each night.
“You can talk about defense, but I don’t think I’ve changed my philosophy. But these guys understand it and have a basketball IQ. They just know what we’re talking about. They say, ‘oh yeah I get that, I know what to do,’” said Maxwell.
That defensive intensity contributed to Timpview shooting just 31 percent and turning it over 16 times.
Maxwell said he and assistant coach Gary Seljaas go over a lot of film to break down a team’s strengths and weaknesses to come up with a good game plan, and this year the players have executed them nearly flawlessly.
Seljass, whose daughter Nancy was a Deseret News Ms. Basketball winner at Bountiful in 2002 and is the current girls basketball coach at Springville, has been an assistant with Maxwell at Bountiful for the past seven years.
It’s tough for him to declare this the best Bountiful defensive team he’s coached, but he didn’t rule it out either.
“Defensively they play so well together and they complement off each other, and they haven’t even hit their peak yet. There’s still things that they can do better,” said Seljaas.
One of the biggest things Braves have going for them is length at every position. That extra length helps alter a lot of shots throughout the course of a game.