Bountiful crawls past Orem in 4A championship game

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SALT LAKE CITY — When it counted most, Bountiful’s Sam Merrill performed his best.

Merrill, who scored 23 points in the 4A championship game versus Orem, allowed the Braves to propel past the Tigers 44-43 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center, clinching the program’s first state championship since 1997.

It was a back-and-forth defensive effort as Orem led 14-9 at the end of the first quarter while Bountiful led 23-19 at the half. Orem scored only five points in the second quarter – a statistic that was crucial as the game played out.

With the win over Orem, Bountiful wins its first state title since 1997.

Both teams scored 11 points in the third quarter, and Orem outscored Bountiful 13-10 in the fourth. Still, Bountiful’s second-quarter margin (14-5) proved to be the lynchpin for the Braves.

Orem had three double-digit scorers, led by Dalton Nixon’s 13 points. Both Cooper Holt and Quinn Peters scored 10 points for the Tigers. Jordan Bleak scored nine points for the Braves.

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