It's awesome; it's really unexplainable. It feels like Christmas all over again. And this present will be forever. It seems like a dream. That's our goal every year, and I think if we work hard we can definitely do it again next year. —Beaver High sophomore forward MaCail Wood
RICHFIELD — Following Friday's semifinal victory, Beaver High sophomore forward MaCail Wood said it didn't matter who the Beavers would face in Saturday's state 2A girls championship game.
"Whoever it is," she confidently predicted, "we'll beat 'em."
Turns out the tall, lean young lady was absolutely right.
With Wood doing much of the damage early on, the Beavers jumped out to a quick double-digit lead and never looked back, rolling past perennial tourney-title rival Enterprise 51-32 to claim this year's crown at the Sevier Valley Center.
Hattie Snyder was an absolute force inside with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Wood contributed 15 points and six boards and Schyler Jordan scored eight more points to give Beaver (20-4) its second state championship victory over Enterprise in the last three years. Enterprise took last year's title by beating — who else? — Beaver, as these two proud programs have tangled for the title seven times since 1999, with the Beavers now holding a 5-2 advantage in their championship showdowns.
"It's awesome; it's really unexplainable," said Wood, who was named the state tournament MVP. "It feels like Christmas all over again. And this present will be forever. It seems like a dream.
"That's our goal every year, and I think if we work hard we can definitely do it again next year.
"We were just so ready for this game. We were sick of getting second place. Second place is really horrible. We know what it feels like to lose (in the championship game), and we wanted to know what it felt like to win."
Thanks to a superb start, the Beavers are back in the title business this year.
They took an early 10-0 lead, built the margin to 19-5 in the second quarter and, after Enterprise battled back within striking distance, got a pair of three-point plays to start the second half to regain their double-digit margin and never led by less than 14 after that.
"At the first of that third quarter we came out and got two three-point plays — hit a 3 and got a three-point play off a foul — and that pretty much sent us on our way," said Beaver coach Jonathan Marshall, whose team finished the season with eight straight wins.
"I'm sure (pre-tournament favorite) Richfield's disappointed, but we came here believing we cold beat any team that was here. And the way we played, I think we would've.
"Enterprise was not gonna quit," Marshall said, "so I never felt safe until about the last two minutes because the way they were coming after us and just our prior history, with them we knew they were gonna keep playing hard."
Snyder was nothing short of sensational, hitting 8-of-12 shots from the field as Beaver's offense continually broke down the Enterprise defense for easy shots inside, allowing she and Wood to have their way with the smaller Wolves in the paint.
"It's amazing," Snyder said as she, her teammates and elated Beaver parents and fans celebrated on the court after the game. "It's a great feeling. I think just the adrenaline of the state championship and all the people cheering, it was just great. ... I think we could play for it again next year."
One player who won't be back to celebrate with them on the court again, though, is Brittney Blacker — the lone senior on this year's Beaver ballclub. She was all smiles as she reflected on her rewarding prep career.
"It's amazing, and to do it with these girls is awesome," Blacker said. "They're awesome teammates and I wouldn't want to do it with anybody else.
"Coach Marshall, he had us from the start knowing that we were gonna win and we just took it to 'em. Our defense was good all year — we focus on defense — so we knew that's what was the key for us."
Marshall and his Enterprise counterpart, Wolves coach Brian Phelps, both relished the two schools' storied rivalry.
"Us and Enterprise are great rivals," Marshall said. "I tell people this all the time — I know it's just 2A girls basketball, but Enterprise and Beaver in girls basketball truly is something special. ... We're two of the best programs around and it seems like we just can't get away from each other. We're just like long-lost lovers or people who are going to be together forever.
"I have a lot of respect for them; I know they have a lot of respect for us," Marshall said. "It's an honor to play against them, and their kids are great kids."
Enterprise (13-11), which was led by lean freshman Ryley Lyman's nine points, only loses one senior off this year's team, too.
Wolves coach Brian Phelps figures the two teams could be back in the finals again next year — but hopes his team will be able to come up with a stronger performance next time around.
"They actually executed our game plan, and executed it better than we did," he said of the Beavers. "We wanted to come out and be real physical, and they just jumped on us and hit every shot. We just didn't execute exactly what we wanted to do, and it's hard when they make shots like they did.
"I'm proud of the kids — they came a long ways. I'm sure that they're disappointed that we didn't compete a little bit better. But they worked hard and didn't quit on us. We've got good kids.
"They just outplayed us," Phelps said of Beaver, which snapped his own team's seven-game winning streak. "They did a great job. Congratulations to them."
2A All-Tournament team
MVP — MaCail Wood, Beaver
Schyler Jordan, Beaver
Hattie Snyder, Beaver
Ryley Lyman, Enterprise
Megan Bean, Richfield
Sloane Roundy, Richfield