Wildcats down Braves in Coalville
Rivalry games always seem to bring out the best in both teams, and that was certainly the case on Friday night in Coalville, when the North Summit and South Summit boys’ basketball teams met up for the second time this season.
After South Summit won a 48-44 thriller in Kamas on Jan. 21, North Summit came out eyeing revenge early in Friday’s game. Through one frenzied quarter of play, the Braves held a 19-17 lead over the Wildcats. South Summit battled back, however, taking a 29-28 lead into halftime.
Coming out of halftime is when the game changed for the Wildcats, who would eventually earn a 55-45 road win. In the third quarter, South Summit only allowed two points while scoring nine.
South Summit Coach Dusty Hatch said there were just a couple basic changes the Wildcats needed to make during intermission.
"We were giving up easy dribble penetration and letting them kick it out for threes," he said. "We made a few adjustments at halftime, the first of which was to stop dribble penetration and the guys did that really well."
After watching North Summit’s Carson Richins score 14 points in the first meeting between the two teams, Hatch said the Wildcats made stopping him a focal point of their defense. It evidently worked, as Richins was held to just four points on Friday night.
"He’s been playing well as of late and he was the high-point guy against us in the first game," he said of Richins. "We felt if we could take him out of the game, we could not only take away his scoring, but the way he runs things, too."
Cameron Smith scored the most points on Friday night, notching 16 points for the Braves. Ryan McMichael added 12 points, Eric Wayment had six, Calvin Hunsaker had four and Cason Deforest had three in the loss.
For South Summit, three players found their way to double figures — Mason Gines led the way with 15 points while Bracken Santos and Jason Griffin each had 14. Ty Jones added five points, Nic Beasley had three and Matt Brady and Kaden Atkinson chipped in with two apiece.
Hatch was impressed with the way Santos attacked the basket early and often.
"Bracken had a really good game in the first half until he got in foul trouble," he said. "Bracken set the tone right from the start. You could tell he was ready to go when the game started and he was more aggressive than he usually is offensively."
He added that having three players score double-digit points was nice to see, too.
"If we can get three guys in double figures like that, it really helps us," he said. "It makes it so they can’t focus on stopping just one person."
South Summit (9-11 overall, 6-2 in Region 16) travels to Manti on Wednesday to take on the region-leading Templars. The Wildcats will then end the regular season on the road against American Leadership Academy. Hatch said those games will be huge for playoff seating.
"We’re sitting in second place in the region right now," he said. "If we can beat Manti, that puts us in first place, but then we also have to go to ALA and beat them. That’s kind of a trap game — it’s the last game of the season and it’s at their place. Hopefully we won’t be overlooking that game. We have to win one of these games to at least remain in second place. First or second in our region is a really good spot. Third or fourth is a little more challenging."
North Summit (13-8, 5-4) will travel to Summit Academy on Wednesday before closing the regular season with a home game against Manti on Friday, Feb. 13. Friday’s home game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. in Coalville.
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