North Summit girls’ basketball advances to semifinals
The fans attending the 2A basketball quarterfinals at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield probably wished they’d brought their umbrellas on Thursday night. Though the weather outside was clear and calm, inside it was raining three-pointers, courtesy of North Summit’s Madi Birk.
In a matchup against South Sevier, North Summit jumped out to a 26-19 halftime lead, thanks to Birk’s five threes. The Braves held on to the lead in the second half, advancing to Friday’s semifinals via a big 46-32 victory.
North Summit Coach Jerre Holmes said Birk’s hot start helped settle the Braves down in the big-time atmosphere of the Sevier Valley Center.
"It’s a big floor and a big arena," he said. "To get off to a good start really helped us. Madi hit five threes in a row. That gave us the lead that we eventually held on to. To get a good start was really good for us."
Though Birk led all scorers with 15 points, she was hardly a one-woman show on Thursday night. Brena Richins scored 10 points and Ashlin Blonquist scored eight points, had eight rebounds and snagged four steals. Elise Richins scored seven points and dished out eight assists and Janessa Stephens scored four points and grabbed six boards. Megan Richins also contributed offensively, scoring two points.
Holmes said the Braves relied on a total team effort Thursday night and added that he’s happy to see the team playing well for the playoffs.
"You hope that your team starts clicking at the right time of the year," he said. "They’ve played well all year, but we seem to be jelling pretty well right now. Ashlin’s had a great year. She’s an exceptional athlete and does a lot of good things for us. Brena has really stepped up and is great at the free-throw line. Down the stretch, when you’re ahead, you have to have someone who can hit free throws. Elise runs the show and does what we need a point guard to do."
The Braves advanced to Friday’s semifinals to play Delta (after this issue went to press). Holmes said taking down the defending 2A champions would be no easy task.
"Delta’s a very good team," he said. "They haven’t lost a game since their first game of the year against Juan Diego. They’re the defending state champs and they know how to win. I think we need another good start. We’re not going to expect anybody to hit five threes in a row, but we need to get to halftime in range and then let the second half play out."
Beaver 55, South Summit boys 48 (OT)
After jumping out to an early 10-2 lead over Beaver, the South Summit boys’ basketball team slowly started letting the Beavers back into the game. Eventually, the Beavers took a three-point lead as time was winding down, leaving the Wildcats with only one shot to tie the game.
"The play we drew up was for Kaden [Atkinson] to take the last shot," South Summit Coach Dusty Hatch said. "He did a good job reading that he had three guys on him. He didn’t force up a shot and made a pass. Tanner [Anderson] hit a big three for us."
Anderson’s shot send the game to overtime, where the Wildcats never got going offensively. Then a timeout snafu crippled South Summit’s chances to win.
"That was on me," Hatch said. "I thought I had one more timeout. We called a timeout and drew up a play, down four points. The kids executed it great. It only took us about a second to score. I called a timeout [after that play] and I didn’t have one. At that point, there were 10 seconds left. The odds were against us, but you never know. Had I not called the timeout, they may have panicked and turned it over. I felt it cost us an opportunity to win the game."
However, the bigger issue on Thursday morning was the free-throw discrepancy.
"They shot 33 and we shot seven," Hatch said. "Some of that was were weren’t being aggressive on offense and were settling for jump shots."
Anderson, Atkinson and Mason Gines all had 10 points to pace the Wildcats. Nick Beasley added nine points, Jason McNeil had seven and Parker Grajek chipped in with two.
With the loss, coupled with North Summit’s overtime loss, the Wildcats and Braves were scheduled to square off on Friday afternoon (after this issue went to press). The winner advanced to Saturday’s fifth-place game. Hatch said the Wildcats would have preferred to win, but were definitely excited to have another chance against the Braves.
"They’re eager to have another opportunity to redeem their loss," he said. "[The Feb. 12 loss] was the first time North Summit had beaten us in seven years. Going in [to Friday’s game], we maybe have an advantage because we know what they’re going to do. We can plan a little bit better for that and be more prepared than we were last time."
Layton Christian 50, North Summit boys 49 (OT)
Despite an outstanding effort from Eric Wayment, who scored 21 points and snagged seven rebounds, the North Summit boys couldn’t quite pull out a win against a high-powered Layton Christian squad.
The game went to overtime tied at 46. Late in the overtime period, the Braves held a 49-48 lead, but Layton Christian scored a basket and got a defensive stop to hold on for the narrow victory.
Mason Richins scored nine points and had 10 rebounds, Curtis Calderwood had eight points, Calvin Hunsaker added six and Braden Richins chipped in with five.
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