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OGDEN — Hayden Welling scored a game-high 29 points and Gabe Toombs added 14 as Corner Canyon claimed its first boys basketball 5A state championship with a 62-45 win over Jordan Saturday.
“It feels great. It’s just a part of the legacy,” Welling said. “We were here last year and in the semis the year before. That’s just what we do. At Corner Canyon, it’s just built that we go that far every year.”
Prior to Saturday's win, though, that legacy was colored by disappointment.
The Chargers lost to Olympus in the semifinals and state championship in 2017 and 2018, their first two years in Class 5A. But on Friday, they exacted revenge over the Titans, to earn a 77-69 win at the Dee Events Center.
They returned Saturday looking like a team on a mission, and the box score proved it.
For the game, the Chargers outrebounded the Beetdiggers 37 to 29 and attempted an astounding 35 free throws to just 11 for Jordan. Welling, himself, attempted 18 free throws — seven more than Jordan’s entire team — and made 17.
Most striking, though, was that Corner Canyon scored 32 points in the paint, including 20 in the second half.
“We dominated this whole tournament in the paint,” head coach Dan Lunt, whose team attempted just four 3-pointers all game and made none. “We told the kids that if we’re trusting each other and sacrificing the three to get in the paint, that we would win.”
Many of those points came via Welling, who also collected 15 rebounds to notch his second-straight double-double in the playoffs. Averaging 24 points and 10 rebounds over the last four games, the 6-foot-9 senior carried the Chargers night-in and night-out.
And now, at long last, he walks away a champion, as do the six other seniors that worked to claim the championship win.
“I’ve been playing good, making my shots. But it’s all thanks to my teammates for getting me the ball,” Welling said. “It’s a team effort and that’s what got us here."
“Four of those guys started for me last year,” Lunt added. “They’ve been here, they’ve done that. They’ve had some peaks and valleys. And now they get to experience the joy of being state champions.”
Lunt, who spent 23 years as Payson’s basketball coach before accepting the Corner Canyon job in 2016, let the joy of his first state championship sink in.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s about the kids. They keep me young, they keep me going, and I just love being around them.”
Jordan’s Dyson Koehler finished with 13 points, one night after ringing up 22 against East. Tevita Malifeo added 11 and Terry Mosley 7 in the loss. A dynamic group of guards, the trio shot a combined 9-of-34 on the night. Follow Dillon on Twitter @dillondanderson.