Summit County schools compete in state playoffs
North Summit boys advance to semifinals to face Waterford
With the game tied at 51 and with about 15 seconds on the clock, the North Summit High School boys’ basketball team’s future was hanging in the balance against Emery. The players were in a clutch situation and the North Summit Braves have quite a few players on its roster who stepped up in a moment of need.
In the game’s final seconds, Hayden Blonquist made his first free throw to give the Braves the one-point lead. He would miss the second, but that was followed by an offensive board and a layup by Daniel Stephens to push the lead to three points. Then, for good measure, Calvin Hunsaker stole the ball from an Emery ball handler on the next possession and laid the ball in for an additional two points.
The 5-0 run solidified the victory for the Braves, who topped the Spartans 56-51 on Thursday afternoon at the Sevier Valley Center in the UHSAA 2A state quarterfinals. With the win, North Summit advances to face Waterford in the state semifinals.
“It was just a wild finish,” North Summit Head Coach Aaron Preece said. “[It was] kind of one of those ones where you just have to sit back and say, ‘Wow. What just happened?’ It was something else to watch. It’s fun to be a part of this.”
Leading the way for the Braves was Hunsaker with 18 points, while Tyler Coleman and Blonquist followed with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Coleman filled up the stat sheet, as he also finished with nine rebounds, three assists and four steals.
The start of North Summit’s semifinal game with Waterford took place after the Park Record’s deadline for publication, but Preece knew before the game that his team needed to bring its best play if they wanted to advance to the 2A State Championship on Saturday evening.
“We’re going to have to play well to beat Waterford,” Preece said. “They’re a good team and we’ll have to get after them defensively to give ourselves a chance.”
Waterford 53, South Summit 49
North Summit wasn’t the only team in action on Thursday, as the South Summit boys’ basketball took on the Waterford Ravens in its own quarterfinal matchup. The Wildcats scored 23 points in the fourth quarter, but their furious late-game rally fell short in its 53-49 loss to the Ravens.
Rough starts to the first and third quarters ultimately doomed the Wildcats in the UHSAA 2A quarterfinals at the Sevier Valley Center.
“It’s unfortunate,” Head Coach Dusty Hatch said. “We were a little disappointed, but we did it to ourselves. We didn’t play well. I don’t know why, but we were flat to start the game and flat to start the third quarter. It cost us the game. I thought that was a game we should’ve won, actually. We still gave ourselves a chance to do that with how poorly we played.”
Even though they lost, the Wildcats’ season is not over. They will play Emery, the team that lost to North Summit, in the consolation semifinals on Friday. If they win, they advance to the consolation finals on Saturday.
“It’s extremely hard because really, you’re not playing for anything,” Hatch said. “The saddest part is we had a great opportunity in front of us that we didn’t take advantage of. Now tomorrow, you’ve got to come out and you’re playing for pride. You’re playing for your school, you’re playing for your self-pride. We’ll see what kind of character we have.”
Girls’ Basketball: North Sevier 48, North Summit 42
The North Summit High School girls’ basketball team was defeated by North Sevier, 48-42, in the UHSAA 2A quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon at the Sevier Valley Center. Heading into the matchup, the Braves’ start player Hunter Vernon was ruled out for the remainder of the playoffs after suffering a torn ACL in the team’s play-in game against Millard.
North Summit had lost just one game all season long before Thursday, but despite its best efforts, the team couldn’t make up for the loss of Vernon’s contributions.
Leading the way for the Braves was Ashlin Blonquist, who finished with 20 points and five rebounds. She was the only double-digit scorer for the team.
North Summit played in the consolation finals early on Friday morning against San Juan, defeating the Broncos 72-35. With the win, the Braves will play in the consolation finals on Saturday against the winner of Layton Christian Academy and Enterprise.
Park City High School senior Ben Agnew plays several significant roles on the baseball team, but his character off the field is just as important.