RICHFIELD — Heading into their opening-round game at the 1A boys basketball tournament, Bryce Valley's players were confident in their abilities and believed they would play well.
But, according to star guard Kace Roundy, there were some doubts about exactly how they'd respond against an opponent that sported a shiny 18-1 record and had won 11 games in a row.
In the end, though, the Bryce Valley Mustangs did what they needed to do, and that proved to be more than enough to post a first-round victory over a solid Wasatch Academy squad.
Roundy scored a game-high 19 points off three 3-pointers, and the Mustangs played reasonably well at both ends of the floor to emerge with a 44-35 victory on Wednesday at the Sevier Valley Center.
"It was kind of hard with their record — they were (18-1). Yeah, we were kind of nervous at first, but we took care of business when it came down to the end," said Roundy. "And we play team ball — that's pretty much how we got it done."
Against Wasatch Academy, Roundy was a big reason why the Mustangs were able to get it done.
Trailing 11-10 at the end of the first quarter, Bryce Valley ripped open the game over the middle two quarters to assume permanent control.
Roundy scored 10 of Bryce Valley's 14 points in the second quarter and had four more in the third.
"You know what, if you give him an inch, he's gonna nail it," Bryce Valley coach Eric Jessen said of Roundy's shooting ability. "He's an excellent shooter, and he's been key for us all year.
"He's led our team in scoring, and when he'll shoot the shots he gets in our offense, it's money. When we're able to get a few sets and look for it, he's money."
Roundy was certainly money against the Tigers, getting good looks and knocking them down.
"I'm pretty confident with my shots that are open, and the ones we got, I was really confident in," said Roundy. "It was all in rhythm."
Defensively, the Mustangs collectively did what they needed to do to contain Wasatch Academy. Until the Tigers went on a 10-2 run late in the fourth quarter after the game's outcome had been decided, Bryce Valley kept Wasatch Academy quiet and consistently got stops.
"That was one of our big keys — to stop their penetration — and I felt like with the exception of a couple right there at the end of the first half, I thought we did a really job of stopping their penetration," said Jessen.
Getting stops allowed Bryce Valley to get out and run — often winding up with Roundy baskets — and in the end, the Mustangs proved to be good enough to advance to the quarterfinals.18 comments on this story
"I was pleased with them for the most part," Jessen said of his players, who will face Tabiona in the quarterfinals at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
"Down the stretch, we made some poor decisions, and a lot of that's because of youth and we haven't been in this position very much. It's a lot of learning for us, (and) you know what, Wasatch Academy is a good team. They're a legit team."