Wildcats rally after slow start | ParkRecord.com

Wildcats rally after slow start

Early in the first quarter of Wednesday night’s game between South Summit and Manti at South Summit High School, it looked like Manti would leave Kamas with an easy victory.

The Templars jumped out to a 10-2 lead after only two and a half minutes of play behind the solid play of guards Austin Jackson and Jamen Miller, who each had five of Manti’s 10 early points.

The quick start forced South Summit coach Dustin Hatch to call a time-out. When the Wildcats retook the court, things changed in a hurry. The defense buckled down and the offense exploded, leading to a 65-50 victory.

Hatch blamed himself for the Wildcats’ slow start, an error he corrected during the first break in action.

"I said, ‘I screwed up,’" he said. "I didn’t know if we could guard them, so I had this brilliant idea that we were going to play zone defense. We’re a man-to-man defensive team, so all I did in that first time-out was switch us back to that."

The switch to the Wildcats’ more comfortable defensive scheme paid off immediately. By the 6:08 mark in the second quarter, South Summit had tied the game at 16. By halftime, Hatch’s squad held a 25-23 lead.

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Junior Beau Rydalch credited the defensive switch with helping on both ends of the court.

"We just got out and ran and we took smart shots," he said. "Our defense helped us get our offense flowing."

In the second half, the Wildcats continued their hot shooting, scoring 17 points in the third period and 23 in the fourth.

Junior Brad Richins led the way for South Summit, netting 23 points with an impressive display of outside shooting. Richins knocked down three three-pointers and a few midrange jumpers en route to his game-high point total.

"That’s Brad," Hatch said. "You don’t really notice that he’s scoring like that. He takes really good shots and he’s really active at getting to the basket."

"He’s a shooter," Rydalch said. "It’s hard for teams to guard both of us. If defenses go after one of us, the other one will be open."

Rydalch added 17 points, had several key steals and started a few fast breaks with his passes after rebounds.

"Tonight, I thought he let the game come to him," Hatch said. "This was Beau’s best game, in my opinion. All his other stats (other than points) is what makes Beau, and our team, good."

Rydalch gave the guards credit for being able to break Manti’s tough full-court pressure defense more often than not.

"I thought they made good passes for the most part and really helped us break that press," he said.

Hatch said his team needs to improve against the press, but was happy with the way the team eventually settled down against it.

"Their press was effective at times, but it was effective because we made it effective," he said. "Hopefully we’ll learn from that."

For the Wildcats’ defense, Hatch said the return of senior Cole Richins from knee surgery helped the Wildcats play better defense than they’ve been playing the last few games.

"He was an honorable mention all-state player last year and he came in and gave us a lift defensively," he said.

Hatch said he hoped the win would help give the Wildcats some positive momentum going forward.

"We just never seem to put a full game together," he said. "I thought we came close to that tonight. Hopefully we can keep that going and keep improving."

The Wildcats improved to 5-5 with the win.