RICHFIELD — When the Rich Rebels struggled for most of the first quarter of their quarterfinal contest against Dugway at the 1A boys basketball tournament, Rich star Caden Andersen did what he's done all season — he carried his teammates on his back and took them where they needed to go.
Andersen kept Rich in the game throughout the first quarter against Dugway, he helped Rich take control of the game in the second quarter and then he helped Rich maintain control in the second half. All told, Andersen scored a game-high 30 points, grabbed eight boards and had four steals and three assists to pace Rich to a 63-45 win over Dugway on Wednesday.
"He's carried us all year long. He's done a great job offensively and defensively and he's been our leader, and he proved that tonight," said Rich coach Ashley Brown. "He didn't play as well (against Panguitch), but tonight he did everything we asked of him and was very good."
Against Panguitch, the Rebels came storming out of the gates and ultimately used that big early run to win the game. However, they started out slowly against Dugway and trailed 8-3 midway through the first quarter.
That's when the Andersen show began.
He scored Rich's final eight points in the first quarter to keep the Rebels close, and once his teammates started to get going around him, Rich did what was necessary to get the win.
The Rebels built up a nine-point lead at halftime and methodically dispatched Dugway from there.
The way Andersen saw things, there was no reason to panic early.
"We just had to stay postive," he said. "When our team stays positive, we usually have success. Just limit the turnovers and we usually keep rolling."3 comments on this story
And now Rich is headed back to the semifinals for the second year in a row. The Rebels lost a thriller to Escalante in the semis a season ago, and — clearly — getting back to this point has been a focus for them over the past 12 months.
"We wanna win state. That's our goal every year," said Brown. "Last year we got close, and this year we've put ourselves in the same spot and we'll see what happens."
Besides Andersen, sophomore Kayden Calder shined for the second night in a row, as he finished with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting. On the other hand, Morgan Kartchner led Dugway offensively with 19 points.