RICHFIELD — Hmmm, here's a big surprise for you — Enterprise and Beaver will square off for the 2A girls basketball championship.
For the third consecutive season, these same two teams will tangle with the state title at stake. Tipoff time is 5 p.m. this evening in the Sevier Valley Center.
Defending 2A state champion Enterprise punched its ticket to another title game with a 52-38 semifinal victory over North Sevier on Friday afternoon.
In a battle between two teams of Wolves, it was Enterprise which eventually emerged, thanks to a strong start and an even stronger finish.
Enterprise took an early 10-point lead, but North Sevier refused to quit and fought back, steadily chipping away at the deficit until it finally tied the score at 36 with 4:41 remaining.
But North Sevier's valiant comeback effort was short-lived, as Dakota Robinson and Ryley Lyman fueled a decisive 16-2 Enterprise run to finish off the game — and slam the door shut on North Sevier's title hopes as well. The loss snapped North Sevier's 16-game winning streak.
"We hit some big free throws and I thought the kids handled the pressure there at the end really well," said Enterprise head coach Brian Phelps, whose team hit 8-of-10 from the line over the last 1:38 to pull away.
Robinson scored 19 points and pulled down 13 rebounds for the winners, while Lyman added 16 points and six boards. Robinson scored seven of her points, including a couple of uncontested layups off the spread offense, and Lyman had five of her points during Enterprise's impressive game-ending run.
"I thought our kids were sensational at rebounding," Phelps said, "and I thought Dakota Robinson was phenomenal on the boards."
Lyman, a slender freshman, played with three fouls throughout most of the second half, but she remained aggressive on both ends of the floor and didn't let her foul problems impact her performance.
"I just knew that we were gonna work together and I knew my team would help me out when I got in trouble," she said. "We were getting worried (when North Sevier tied things up), but then we just stayed calm and we all just played our part. On our breakaways, we were making smart passes and making sure we kept calm."
Bailey Sorenson, Devyn Sorenson and Erica Hallows each scored nine points for North Sevier (18-6), which overcame its early 10-point deficit and trimmed the Enterprise lead to 35-32 entering the fourth quarter, then tied it up on a putback basket and a pair of free throws by Hallows with 4:41 remaining.
"Our defense broke down and they made a nice run," Phelps said. "They switched their defense up and it took us a long time to break it down.
"We just barely got over .500 yesterday. Of course, we do play all the St. George and Cedar (City) schools, so we have a tough schedule. Everybody thought we were gonna have a rebuilding year because we lost a lot of kids off last year's (championship) team. But this group of kids has grown a lot."1 comment on this story
Looking ahead to today's title showdown against Beaver, Phelps figures his ballclub will be a big underdog.
"They're bigger than we are. And they've been shooting the ball really well, too," he said. "We've got to scrap and we've got to out-hustle them."
The Braves, though, wouldn't have it any other way.