Carbon High senior Jordan Blanc steals the ball away from a Union High player as Carbon High Head Coach Jeff Cisneros watches on from the sideline.
Carbon High's Bryce Blackburn drives to the basket between two Union High defenders for two of his team-high 22 points on the night.
Trailing by four points going into halftime, the Carbon High boys basketball team was playing like a car going up a hill. They kept things close against Union High but were just in need of a boost of momentum to get over the top.
The Dinos got an earful at halftime from head coach Jeff Cisneros who implored the team to take control of the game by playing aggressive defense and getting out on the fast break on offense.
Carbon High responded with a 33-point outburst in the third quarter that turned a four point deficit into an 11-point lead at the end of the quarter on their way to a 71-58 win in their home opener on Tuesday night at the Carbon High Gymnasium.
"We were just playing flat in the first half, moving our feet slow on defense," Cisneros said after the game. "We came out in the second half shooting the ball really well by getting out and running down the court on offense."
The Dinos struggled at times during the first half not getting good, clean shots to the basket while Union High used their height advantage down low to build a lead through much of the half.
Carbon gained a little momentum going into the half cutting the Union High lead from eight to four points thanks to baskets from seniors Bryce Blackburn, Jordan Blanc and Dakota Cisneros.
The Dinos wasted no time in getting out on the fast break to start the third quarter. In a three minute span, the Dinos went from being down four to leading 41-36 with over 5:30 left in the third quarter.
"We just want to go out and run, hit our outside shots and be aggressive on offense and defense," said Blanc.
Once Carbon grabbed a hold of the lead they never relented as they used a barrage of six three-pointers from Blackburn, Blanc and Cisneros that saw Carbon outscore Union 33-18 in the quarter.
The Dinos combined to hit nine three-pointers in the game, including three each from Blackburn, Blanc and Cisneros.
Blackburn, a senior guard who came off the bench much of last season, led the Dinos with a team-high 22 points.
"Bryce had a really good game for us on offense and he played good aggressive defense getting steals to lead the fast break," Cisneros said.
He led an offensive attack that saw two other players finish in double figures in scoring including Blanc (19) and Cisneros (12).
While Union had a height advantage in the frontcourt, Cisneros said the Dinos will likely face that problem all season long. But what the Dinos lack in height, they will make up for it by using their speed and playing defense.
"There will always be a difference in size for us, but getting out and running down the court can help change the game in our favor," Cisneros explained.
While the Dinos will face a number of challenges this season, Blanc feels the continuity of the team will help carry them through a tough schedule.
"Many of us have played together for many years which has helped our team chemistry be even better this year than last year," he said.
Next up for the Dinos (1-1) will be the Bear River Classic tournament in Tremonton this weekend. The Dinos will play three games in three days including against host Bear River, 5A school Northridge and Wasatch.
Cisneros said the win was a good way for the Dinos to get themselves ready for the tournament.
"We're excited about playing good teams at the tournament," said Cisneros.