High school basketball: Eagles hold off Mustangs for 1A title
RICHFIELD — Preparation was key in Saturday's 1A boys basketball state championship bout between Bryce Valley and Layton Christian.
Bryce Valley's Mustangs came within three points of the Eagles in the fourth quarter, but the LCA boys held together to cement a 64-58 win at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.
"The coaches have been preaching to us all year that we had to play as a team," said Remington Rawlings, a senior for LCA who led all players with 28 points. He said when the Mustangs made their fourth quarter run; the things he learned in practice helped him keep his composure.
"Those are the moments you live for," Rawlings said. "When you realize that they want it too, but you know you want it more."
Rawlings scored 11 points in the final quarter to swing the momentum back to LCA's favor.
The Eagles struck first as Victor Villegas buried a 3-pointer, followed by Rawlings who slipped into the paint for a layup.
Bryce Valley's Jake Pearson put the Mustangs on the scoreboard by draining a pair of shots from the free-throw line.
LCA's Joe Haugen dropped in an inside shot, followed by Rawlings' first of two 3-pointers in the game. Pearson put up a trey for Bryce Valley, which was answered in turn by LCA's Mishal Jackson. Foul shots for the Mustangs by Braxton Syrett and Dirk Chynoweth kept Bryce Valley close as the first period ended with LCA up 16-10.
LCA's Quincy Mason, who totaled 12 points in the game, posted nine of them in second quarter. Victor Flores added two 3-pointers. Haugen also posted a trey for the Eagles. Rawlings also added in a 2-point shot.
Meanwhile, Bryce Valley saw field goals posted by Pearson and Braxton Syrett, who led the Mustangs in scoring throughout the game with 21 points.
Heading into the second half, Bryce Valley's boys were trying to catch LCA, 34-28.
The Eagles went on a 12-point run thanks to Mason, Rawlings and a 3-point play converted by Scifon Shyaka.
Bryce Valley's Hunter Meacham broke up the run with an inside shot. Rawlings responded with a 3-pointer, keeping LCA up 48-31.
Then Syrett found his way to the hole for a bucket, followed by two from the charity stripe by Jesse Jessen for Bryce Valley, but Rawlings answered with another shot from the floor.
The third quarter ended 51-39, after Bryce Valley scored three points off a pair of trips to the foul line. The Mustangs continued the run, scoring nine more points, drawing the game to within three.
LCA took a timeout with 5:39 to go in the game, following which Mason hit a shot from the foul line. Bryce Valley's Zach Chynoweth added a point, keeping the spread at three.
LCA's Jackson and Rawlings both dropped in shots from the floor. Bryce Valley's Syrett scored nine more points before the buzzer, but it wasn't enough as Rawlings led LCA on an eight-point effort in the final 1:30.
"The kids did this, it was all the kids," said LCA coach Bobby Porter. "I'm truly blessed to have such a great team. … We're honored to represent the state of Utah as the 1A champions."
Porter's work with the team was one of the keys in getting the win for LCA, Mason said.
"Our coaches do a really great job of breaking down the other teams so we know the plays," Mason said. "That really got us set up for the game."
LCA last won the state tournament in 2007, and remained undefeated in region play this season. Overall, the Eagles end the year with a 14-9 record.
MVP — Remington Rawlings, Layton Christian Academy
Quincy Mason, Layton Christian Academy
Braxton Syrett, Bryce Valley
Joe Haugen, Layton Christian Academy
Ty Rees, Wayne
Justin Johnson, Green River
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