Nothing seemed to work in Kaleb Bailey’s favor in the first half of Boulder City’s Division I-A Sunrise League game against Sunrise Mountain on Monday.
The senior guard, hampered with fouls, played sparingly and struggled to find any sort of offensive rhythm, shooting 2-for-10 from the field.
However, he quickly shed his burdens when it mattered most.
Bailey registered 18 of his game-high 23 points in the second half, anchoring the host Eagles in a 74-58 victory.
“I finally kind of settled down,” Bailey said. “I had a rough first half, so I decided to play defense and let the game come to me. Once I got into the rhythm, I was able to hit some shots and drive to the basket.”
Bailey scored 12 of his points in the 10 minutes after he incurred his fourth foul during the third quarter.
“It’s hard to play with four, because I like to be aggressive,” said Bailey, who fouled out with 1:07 remaining. “I shouldn’t have fouled out, though. I need to be smarter with my selection.”
Boulder City (13-7, 5-3), which led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter, watched its lead nearly evaporate early in the fourth. The Miners used a 6-0 swing to reduce the deficit to 55-53 with 4:28 to play, but a major breakdown on the defensive end opened the door for the Eagles’ 19-5 game-ending run.
“This a big win for us,” Boulder City coach John Balistere said. “We have a couple more home games and we need to put ourselves in a good position down the stretch.”
Trailing 23-15 after the first quarter, the Eagles benefited from a 16-0 run at the start of the second and built a 33-27 halftime lead. Stymied by Boulder City’s pressing defense, Sunrise Mountain was held to four points in the period.
“We’re a very defense-oriented team, so for us to give up 23 in the first was way too many points,” Balistere said. “We don’t score enough to give that many points. So I thought we locked down a lot better defensively the last three quarters.”
The Eagles second-half surge allowed them to spread the floor with aggressive drives to the basket. Senior forward Michael Kelso was a dominant force inside for Boulder City, contributing 16 points and nine rebounds.
As Bailey struggled to stay on the court during the second quarter, Tanner Howell provided a much-needed spark. The senior contributed 10 points and nine rebounds for the Eagles, who came into the matchup 1-4 in their last five games.
Zane Gibbs scored 19 points for the Miners (11-12, 3-6), and Shmarlio Tolliver supplied 17.