TAYLORSVILLE Riverton's win Monday night meant a lot more to the Silverwolves than just a chance to advance in the 5A tournament.
"We'd cut the nets down if they'd let us," said Ron Ence only half-kidding as his team celebrated the first playoff win for the girls basketball program in school history, with a 59-47 victory over Davis. "We're really excited. . . . You've got to start somewhere."
The team lost by three points last season in a thrilling first-round game against Viewmont. Being that close and missing the quarterfinals made the players that much more hungry and grateful for this year's success.
"We feel so good, so good," said forward Amanda Hansen, who finished with 15 points. "We're not satisfied with this though, not at all."
The third-ranked Silverwolves' celebration will consist of preparing to play the state's No. 2 team, Mountain View, on Thursday in a quarterfinal game at Salt Lake Community College.
"It'll be fun," Hansen said. "I'm excited for it."
One of the things she's looking forward to most is playing against Stanford-bound Michelle Harrison, whom she played with last summer in the Utah Sky Club program.
"We just have to keep her from getting the ball," Hansen said. "She can pretty much shoot over anyone. . . . Sometimes when you're friends, it's like you want to beat them that much more."
Teammate Dayna Burgess said the Darts' comeback in the second quarter was all the wake-up call Riverton needed.
"We came in the locker room and started saying, 'Come on guys, we want it!' " said Burgess, who led all scorers with 16 points, including three 3-point shots. Adds Hansen, "It was almost sweeter to win this year after what happened last year."
The Darts fell behind in the first quarter, only scoring five points. But they scored 22 points in the second quarter while holding Riverton to 12. Then in the third quarter Davis managed just three points, a 3-pointer from Jessica Wilde, while Riverton put up 13 points and a lead Davis just couldn't overcome.
"Riverton came out after the half and played really well defensively," said Davis coach Amy Wright, who will have a baby in three weeks. "They're a very physical team . . . and that was hard on our kids."
Davis was led by Amy Dunford, who finished with 14 points, and Chiara Fonnesbeck, who added 13. Kasey Day put in 11 points and sparked the team defensively in the fourth quarter as it made one more run at Riverton.
"It was really a team effort," Wright said. "We had a great season. It's the first winning season in a while. We lose eight seniors and we lose a lot of talent and a lot of leadership."In other 5A playoff games Monday:
BRIGHTON 45, SPANISH FORK 31: The Bengals won a defensive battle in the first round of the 5A tournament. The Bengals were led by junior forward Tasha Dickey, who scored 20 points, while senior Aubrey Mackintosh hit some key baskets to help the Bengals pull away in the fourth quarter. She finished with 11 points.
"I'm just glad to get the first round over with," Bengal coach Jim Gresh said. "It's always tough."
The win means Brighton will take on Layton on Thursday at 7:40 p.m. in the quarterfinals."Three years in a row it's been Brighton and Layton," Gresh said of meeting the fifth-ranked Lancers.
LAYTON 54, HUNTER 40: The Lancers earned a berth in the quarterfinals with a win over the Wolverines. They were led by Ashley McFarland, who finished with 18 points, while Sheila Adams and Amber Strong added 10 points each in the win.Alex Dunn led the Wolverines with 15 points, five rebounds and three steals, while teammate Rosey Falemaka added nine points.