South Summit boys basketball defeats North Summit in rivalry blowout
A blowout. It’s hard to talk about Wednesday’s rivalry game between North Summit and South Summit boys basketball without using those words.
The two teams entered the South Summit High School gym to the sound of cheers from equally enthusiastic student sections – purple and white on one side, green on the other – but the teams had nearly opposite records. The Wildcats were 6-1, having only lost to Bear River, while the Braves were 1-5, having only won against North Sanpete.
That gulf between the teams’ early season performances showed in the first quarter, when the Wildcats took a commanding 20-6 lead.
Jake Rydalch set the tone of the game early, hitting a 3 point shot to put the Wildcats on the board, then another one just a couple minutes later. The Wildcats’ score climbed steadily – from 10-2, to 13-2, to 15-3. North Summit had no answer to South Summit’s offense, particularly its fast breaks, when senior guard Kael Atkinson would pitch the ball up to one of the team’s wings, who would go up for a layup.
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“Our philosophy is, we want to score in two seconds – either after a made shot or a rebound,” Dusty Hatch, the Wildcats’ head coach said after the game.
Besides Rydalch’s threes, wing Hagen Miles scored two 2-pointers and a free throw, while seniors Jared Dansie, Braden Lundgreen, and Logan Davis scored a 2-pointer each.
Atkinson scored a three.
North Summit senior guard Parker Brown led the Braves in scoring in the first quarter after sinking a single 3-point shot.
The second and third quarters were better for North Summit, which faced a scoring deficit of only nine points in the second quarter and four points in the third, but they couldn’t make up the ground the team had lost in the first quarter. South Summit quieted down in the fourth quarter, when its second string led the team an 11-point quarter, compared with North Summit’s 16.
Brown hit another 3-pointer for the Braves in the second quarter, then sank four 2-pointers in the third quarter and two 2s in the fourth to lead the team with 21 points. His teammate sophomore wing Alec Hunsaker scored 16, half of which came in the third quarter.
South Summit’s scoring was more diverse, with eight players scoring five or more points, and 12 total players finding the basket.
Rydalch led the team with 15 points, with Atkinson close behind with 13, followed by Bruce Mitchell with 11. Mitchell’s contribution was particularly impressive, given the senior center was taken out of play in the first quarter after two early fouls, and only returned in the third when he put up all of his points, including a casually-drained 3-pointer, which brought the team to its feet.
Hatch said the Wildcats ran its offense better and played with more energy than the team had all season.
“Of course, it’s our rival so that makes sense,” he said.
In the end, South Summit defeated North Summit 81-59.
It was the start of a big week for the Wildcats, who, after playing one rival, fell to Manti 59-57 on Thursday before taking on Park City on Friday in Park City, which Hatch said was just as big of a rivalry.
The Wildcats’ record fell off at this time last season, when, after going 6-1, the team dropped four of six games, including back-to-back games against to Manti, Ogden and Emory.
Players and Hatch say this team is a tighter-knit group than in last season, and have seven senior leaders to help pull them toward their goal of becoming state champions, including starters Atkinson, Rydalch, Mitchell, Hagen Miles and Jared Dansie.
“These seven seniors that we have; we’ve been playing together since grade school,” Rydalch said. “So the chemistry there is just phenomenal. That accompanied with coaching is just really effective. No fault to last year’s team but I think we have a lot more desire this year.”
The Wildcats will play Emory (5-1) at home Monday at 7 p.m.
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It’s going to be at least another month before Summit County’s high school athletes have any chance of getting onto the field again.