RICHFIELD – With both sides playing aggressive defense in the first half of Wednesday's Class 1A State first-round contest between Monticello and Valley, the second-ranked Buckaroos knew what they had to do to pull off the victory — get the ball inside to the big-man Dallin Duncan.
Monticello did just that as the 6-foot-6 senior corralled several key offensive rebounds in the second half to lead the Buckaroos to the 52-41 win over the Buffaloes.
Duncan used his flexibility and strength in the first quarter to put Valley on its toes, but Lance Maxwell made sure the Buffaloes didn't get down early. Josh Spencer came off the bench for Valley to sink a 3-point shot from the left corner with six seconds remaining to give Valley a 13-9 lead.
Valley increased its lead up to as much as five points with four minutes remaining in the half. At that point, the Buckaroos knew that Valley had come to play. Monticello had to get something going or they would have to be content with a showing in the consolation side of the bracket.
With the help of the play of Duncan and Cory Young, the Buckaroos took its first lead with two minutes remaining. At the half, the score was tied at 25-25.
The second half was a completely different scenario.
Monticello's height advantage finally took a toll on the Buffaloes. The Buckaroos tallied offensive rebound after offensive rebound, and it finally brought on the defensive aggressiveness they had been looking for all game.
Duncan recorded a game-high 24 points to propel Monticello into the quarterfinals. The Buckaroos will face a tough Rich squad at 5:30 p.m. today at the Sevier Valley Center. Valley drops to play Panguitch in the consolation bracket at 11:30 a.m. Maxwell led Valley in the loss with 17 points.
LIAHONA 70, WEST RIDGE ACADEMY 37: Liahona took its first step in the state tournament with a dominating win over the Fighting Eagles. Brayden Facemyer helped Liahona get on top early and never look back as he recorded 19 points. Matt Comer added 17 points in the first-round victory. West Ridge was led by Dimetri Bullard, who tallied a game-high 22 points. Liahona will face defending champion Bryce Valley in the quarterfinals today at 8:30 p.m. West Ridge drops to consolation play and will face the Duchesne Eagles at 2:30 p.m.
BRYCE VALLEY 55, DUCHESNE 53 (2OT): Kace Roundy hit a long-range jumper with just a few seconds remaining to lift the defending 1A champs to the victory over the Eagles. Roundy scored 21 points for the Mustangs, who narrowly escaped the first-round upset. Macoy Young was the leading scorer for Duchesne with 16 points. Bryce Valley will have a tough contest against Liahona today in the quarterfinals, while Duchesne will play West Ridge.
ICS 70, DUGWAY 33: Region 17's first-ranked Lions got off to a good start in the tournament behind a dominating performance by Josh Mylar (15 points) and Jared Engelholm (14 points). Jake Palmer had 11 points in the losing effort. ICS will move on to play Tabiona today at 7 p.m. Dugway will play Green River at 10 a.m.
TABIONA 47, GREEN RIVER 41: With the score tied heading into the final period, the Tigers outscored the Pirates 20-14 to advance. Dane Rhoades led Tabiona with 18 points while Monte Clyde chipped in with 10 points. Justin Johnson and Jason Johnson scored 13 points and 12 points, respectively, for Green River.
RICH 55, PANGUITCH 50: Kayden Calder erupted for 24 points to help the Rebels avoid the first-round upset with a 19-10 fourth quarter. Brent Wallentine added 13 points in the victory. Freshman Tyce Barney netted a team-high 19 points in the loss. Rich will advance to face Monticello today, while Panguitch will drop to the consolation bracket to play region-rival Valley.
WASATCH ACADEMY 54, PIUTE 36: The top-ranked Tigers closed the first half on a 16-5 run to provide a double-digit cushion to propel them to the win. The win marks the first time for Wasatch Academy for winning a first-round game of the state tournament. Evaldas Aniulis posted 17 points and Jarryn Skeete added 14 points, including a two-hand dunk in the first half that brought the Tiger fans to its feet. The T-Birds had a balanced scoring effort led by Cash Newby who put in nine points. The Tigers advance to play Milford at 4 p.m. today. Piute will face Whitehorse at 1 p.m.
MILFORD 47, WHITEHORSE 46: Dylan Jones helped Milford record the narrow win over Whitehorse with 14 points. Shawn Dickson had a game-high 23 points for the Raiders. Milford advances to the quarterfinals and will play the top-ranked Wasatch Academy Tigers. Whitehorse will face the Piute T-Birds.
Lane Sorensen, a senior at Valley High School, enjoys writing sports articles especially about basketball. Lane plans to attend Utah State University in the fall where he wants to major in journalism.