South Summit boys’ basketball wins thriller vs. North Summit |

South Summit boys’ basketball wins thriller vs. North Summit

It took the offenses a while to get going in Kamas on Wednesday night, but when shots started falling, the South Summit and North Summit boys’ basketball teams provided quite the show for the gym that was packed to the rafters.

The Braves didn’t score until halfway through the first quarter, but by halftime, they’d cut the Wildcats’ lead to only two points. They’d cut the lead to two points again in the fourth quarter, but a pair of free throws by Mason Gines with eight seconds left gave South Summit a 48-44 home victory.

Usually this season, the Wildcats have started slow in both the first and third quarters. On Wednesday night, however, those were their two best quarters, outscoring North Summit 13-8 in each frame.

South Summit Coach Dusty Hatch attributed the fast starts to a change in offensive philosophy.

"I think we kind of took them by surprise," he said. "We changed what we do offensively and wanted to push the ball early. It really helped us. In these rivalry games, where things are tight, you’ve got to shoot layups. That’s what I kept telling the guys — get out and run early, get some of that anxiety out of you and get easy shots."

Though the Braves fought their way back into the game after the Wildcats’ fast start, Hatch was happy with the overall effort from his squad.

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"We were up 13-4 and then, pretty soon, it was 17-17 and it was a battle," he said. "But tonight, I thought we did a better job. We always have peaks and valleys — tonight our peaks were a little higher and our valleys weren’t so low. We maintained a level of consistency throughout the game."

After a hard-fought fourth quarter, featuring a technical foul and several other hard fouls, South Summit’s Mason Gines went to the free-throw line with his team up two. He had just missed the front end of a one-and-one, but knocked down both free throws this time around to seal the win for the Wildcats. Gines said he definitely felt the pressure of the situation.

"The only thing that was going through my head was that, if I hit these, we were going to win," he said. "I was clutch — I hit them and that was it. Being up four and knowing they couldn’t do anything with eight seconds left, I knew it was over."

Hatch said free-throw shooting has been a weak spot for the Wildcats this year, but credited Gines for hitting two huge shots from the line.

"In the first half, we were 3-for-13 from the free-throw line," he said. "Free-throw shooting is an issue, but Mason was huge. He stepped up, nailed them both and put the game away. That speaks to his maturity."

Gines finished the game with eight points. Bracken Santos led the way for South Summit with 14 points and Matt Brady added 12. Ty Jones and Jason Griffin each had six points and Brandon Dansie contributed two.

For North Summit, Carson Richins led the way with 14 points. Ryan McMichael added 10 points, and Cameron Smith (nine), Mason Richins (five), Cason Deforest (two), Calvin Hunsaker (two) and Braden Richins (two) also found their way onto the score sheet.

The Wildcats received a boost from Ty Jones, who was in the starting lineup for the first time this season after battling a hip injury. Hatch said it’s great having a senior leader back on the floor.

"It’s just his energy level on the defensive end," he said. "He did make a couple big shots, too. He’s still working on his timing, though — once we get him in full condition, it’s going to really help us. He already is a real asset to us just with his leadership skills. It’s made a huge difference."

Another key to the Wildcats’ success on Wednesday night was the home crowd. Though the Braves certainly had a loud cheering section of their own, the gym was packed with South Summit fans. Hatch said it’s a great feeling for the boys to play in an environment like that.

"I wish it was like this every game," he said. "You just feed off it. It’s fun in the huddles and the whole atmosphere is great — it was a blast. [North Summit is] a good team. That was a great game and we knew it would be."

"It’s crazy," Gines added. "There’s nothing better than that. How loud it gets and how fun it is, everything’s just so up-tempo and crazy."

South Summit (5-10 overall, 2-1 in Region 16) and North Summit (10-6, 2-1) will meet again on Friday, Feb. 6, in Coalville. The Braves were scheduled to play at Manti on Friday night. Their next game is on Wednesday, Jan. 28, when they host Summit Academy at 7 p.m. The Wildcats were scheduled to host American Leadership Academy on Friday night. Their next game is also on Wednesday, Jan. 28, when they travel to Manti for a 7 p.m. game.