1A high school basketball: Bryce Valley nabs victory in defensive duel
RICHFIELD — There were no shortage of heroes for Bryce Valley at the end of its quarterfinal showdown against tradition-rich Tabiona at the 1A boys basketball tournament Thursday inside the Sevier Valley Center.
From the Bryce Valley's star player, Kace Roundy, to the guy at the end of the bench, the Mustangs got contributions across the board to ultimately prevail in what proved to be an intense and defensive quarterfinal clash.
Utilizing a half-court trap to start the second half, Bryce Valley jumped out to a small lead and managed to stay ahead the rest of the way, eventually prevailing, 36-34, in the nightcap of the 1A tourney.
With the victory, Bryce Valley advances to the 1A semifinals for the first time since 1992. Bryce Valley has only been to the semifinals three times in school history and has never gotten to the state championship game.
So the Mustangs will have a chance to make history when they meet Monticello at 6 tonight in the semis.
To get to there, everyone in a Bryce Valley uniform stepped up and made plays, especially at the defensive end.
"Our defense was outstanding, and I can't give enough credit to our role players," said coach Eric Jessen. "It's not about the scoring — it's about playing good defense and team basketball.
"Kade Pollock stepped up big. Eddie Dunham, the sophomore, stepped up. I was really pleased."
Of all the guys that rose up, Dunham was easy to identify because of what he did at the end of regulation
Tabiona got the ball back after Korde Chynoweth made one free throw to put Bryce Valley up, 36-34, with 12.2 seconds left in regulation.
Van Tassell decisively drove towards the basket for a layup that would send the game to overtime. But while he did everything right, Dunham, who made his first career start against Milford at the Region 20 tournament just last week, made an outstanding play to get over and block Van Tassell's shot as time expired.
"It's pretty awesome," Dunham said of the moment. "Personally, I thought they were gonna call it a foul, but I was pretty glad that they didn't."
Dunham's game-winning block ended a tight, tight defensive battle.
Tabiona and Bryce Valley were tied at just 12-12 at halftime, and it took a defensive switch by Jessen early in the third quarter to switch things up.
"We wanted to come out for a couple of minutes and get into our half-court trap and try to get enough momentum to get a lead, and it forced some turnovers that really benefitted us," said Jessen.
Roundy finished with a game-high 24 points, eight boards, four assists, two blocks and a steal to lead Bryce Valley.
Meanwhile, Robbie Giles had 16 points and 20 boards to lead Tabiona. Rhoades added 10 points and eight boards.
"Tabiona needs a lot of credit because — I'll tell you what — they know how to play good defense," said Jessen. "They're well-coached, they have great tradition. I compliment them and how well (coach Shay Price) gets them to play."
In the end, though, Bryce Valley found ways to step up and advance as far as any previous Bryce Valley boys basketball team has ever advanced.
"We've got a lot riding tomorrow and hopefully we can get there," said Jessen. "Monticello presents some problems for us. We're gonna have to figure it out and put a game plan together."