Brighton boys basketball wrap up its season
The Bengals boys basketball team practice free throws. (John Guertler/City Journals)
Sometimes there’s a razor-thin difference between playing in the postseason and staying home. That’s exactly where the Brighton boys basketball team found itself as the regular season wound down.
Entering its Feb. 16 game against Alta, the Bengals were tied for fifth and last place in Region 7. Still, Brighton had a good shot to sneak into the Class 5A state tournament.
The top four teams in each region qualify for state, and as Brighton prepared for its final two league games, they were 2-6 in the region standings, along with Cottonwood. However, Brighton was also just a game back of their next foe, Alta, who they defeated 65-51.
The Bengals followed that up with a heartbreaking triple overtime loss to Cottonwood in the season finale 69-66.
A casual glance at Brighton’s record may not impress the common fan, but a deeper look shows how close the Bengals have been to every league team they’ve faced. Though Brighton finished just 3-7 in region, had the ball bounced a different way a few times, the Bengals could have been at or near the top of the standings.
All seven of Brighton’s region losses were by fewer than seven points. Combined, Brighton lost those six games by 26 points, or just 4.3 an outing. Brighton had two games decided by one possession (three points) and two other decided by four points.
Brighton’s other two league wins heading into the last two contests were close as well.
The Bengals upended Alta on the road on Jan. 26, 61-54. This game was impressive because the Bengals were behind 49-41 in hostile territory as the fourth quarter began. Then, Brighton went on a 20-5 run in the fourth quarter to completely turn the game around.
In the comeback victory over Alta, Brighton hit 22 of 27 free throws and rode the leadership of Cameron Krystkowiak, who had 23 points and four rebounds. Dallin Ringwood had 16 points, and Michael Le Fear had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Brighton’s other win came at Timpview in a 60-47 upset on Feb. 9. Brighton jumped out to a 35-26 halftime advantage and then found itself up by just two points entering the fourth quarter. The Bengals held on, largely due to the efforts of Cameron Krystkowiak, who again paced the team in scoring. He had 18 points and four rebounds, while Ringwood wasn’t far behind with 16 points (including four three-pointers). Luc Krystkowiak had 14 points on the night.
Cameron Krystkowiak leads the team in scoring with an 18.2 average. He’s also the top rebounder, hauling in 6.6 boards a game. Ringwood scores 10.3 points a game, and Adam Christensen helps out with nearly nine points a game.