North Summit boys’ basketball ends losing streak vs. Wildcats
The North Summit High School boys’ basketball team probably felt like it was heading for another major disappointment on Friday night in Coalville.
After entering halftime of the game against archrival South Summit tied at 20, the visiting Wildcats outscored the Braves 11-4 in the third quarter to take a 31-24 lead. Having lost to South Summit each of the last 15 times the two schools had played, the Braves couldn’t have been feeling great about their chances entering the fourth quarter.
But, slowly, the Braves began to claw their way back, eventually tying the game at 36 with one minute left. From there, North Summit Coach Marques Johnson said, the Braves played for the last shot.
"They missed a contested shot on their end and we got the ball with right around a minute left," Johnson said. "They just sat back and, with 16 seconds to go, we ran what we call ‘four-low.’ It’s just a dribble handoff to the corner. We had a perfect look at the elbow and missed, a second put-back attempt and missed. Finally, on a third put-back attempt, Braden Richins got it right at the buzzer. It was just a point-blank two-footer."
It may not have been pretty, but Johnson said he’ll take an ugly 38-36 win any day, especially over North Summit’s county rivals.
"It was fantastic," he said. "It was the best environment in my four years here. There’s nothing better than beating your rival. It might be better than a postseason victory. There’s just not a better feeling."
Senior twins Braden and Mason Richins played big parts in the North Summit win, Johnson said.
"Braden and Mason nearly had 20 rebounds each," he said. "We dominated the boards. With it being such a low-scoring game, everybody just did enough for us to be able to win a close one. It was a good team effort."
Braden Richins finished with 12 points and 19 rebounds, while Mason added seven points and 16 rebounds. Eric Wayment finished with seven points and seven rebounds and Curtis Calderwood, Calvin Hunsaker and Chris Richins each had four points in the win.
Senior Mason Gines led South Summit with nine points. Kaden Atkinson and Jason McNeil each added eight, while Brandon Dansie and Nick Beasley each had four. Tanner Anderson contributed three points in the loss.
The biggest key for North Summit was a change in defensive philosophy, Johnson said. Instead of playing man defense, like they did in a 55-39 loss, the Braves ran a zone scheme that gave the Wildcats trouble.
"At their place, we manned them and they just went by us and we got in foul trouble," he said. "They really took advantage of their speed and that bothered us. We kept them out of the paint [Friday] and it was a night-and-day difference. I don’t think they got a single transition bucket. We designated two guys to sprint back as soon as the shot went up. That allowed us to get our zone set up. We’ll take our chances with shots outside the paint."
Adding to the Braves’ great night was a postgame tiebreaker to determine Region 16’s final standings.
"With [Friday’s win], we tied South Summit at 7-3 in region," Johnson said. "We flipped a coin after the game and we won the toss."
That means North Summit is the Region 16 No. 2 seed and South Summit is the No. 3. Though that’s definitely a good thing for the Braves, Johnson said he still expects a battle in the first round of the 2A playoffs Saturday.
"The region we’re matching up with, I think their fourth-place team is even tremendous," he said. "No. 1 through No. 4, they’re a fantastic region."
South Summit meets Region 15 No. 2 seed San Juan on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at Orem High School. North Summit faces Region 15 No. 3 seed Manti at 1:30 p.m. in Orem.
Johnson said the Braves will need to take care of the basketball to have a chance to advance.
"They use full-court pressure and want to create turnovers and transition," he said. "If you can handle their pressure, you’re in a good place."
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Park City dominated East in a sweep on Tuesday night to improve to 3-3 on the season and 3-0 in region play.