Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
The final three weeks of the high school basketball season were a wild ride for those involved, as mild and major upsets were the theme across the state. Of the 10 total boys and girls teams that hoisted trophies, only three were the No. 1 team in their respective classifications entering the state playoffs.
The five state champions on the girls side were Syracuse (5A), Timpanogos (4A), Snow Canyon (3A), Beaver (2A) and St. Joseph (1A). The boys state champions were Lone Peak (5A), Orem (4A), Hurricane (3A), South Sevier (2A) and Layton Christian (1A).
The Lone Peak and South Sevier boys were the only repeat champions.
It took 164 playoff games to crown the 10 title winners, and even though there weren't very many buzzer beaters this year, here are the Deseret News' picks for the 10 best playoff games.
10. 5A GIRLS QUARTERFINAL
Riverton 37, Layton 31
Many believed Layton was destined for a championship game showdown with Syracuse, but Riverton had other plans. An outstanding defensive effort from the Silver Wolves in the second half led to the mild upset as Layton scored just 11 points in the second half. The back-and-forth affair was still very much up in the air with 15 minutes remaining, but Jamie Smith — who blew out her ACL in the first round a year ago — stepped to the line and iced the victory with a pair of free throws, putting Riverton ahead 35-31.
9. 5A BOYS SEMIFINAL
Lone Peak 68, West Jordan 56
No game in any classification was as highly anticipated as this showdown between two of the state's marquee teams. Even though Lone Peak led throughout thanks to 10 3-pointers, it was a very high-level game that featured numerous future college stars. Despite trailing by 13 points at the half and then by 14 heading into the fourth quarter, the talented Jaguars made two great runs at the Knights, cutting the lead to six points on two separate occasions. Each time, however, Lone Peak seemed to hit a dagger of a 3-pointer that crushed West Jordan's hopes.
8. 2A GIRLS QUARTERFINAL
North Summit 40, Richfield 38
North Summit's stunning quarterfinal upset of No. 1 Richfield was arguably the most bizarre ending to any playoff game this year. Leading 40-38 with 5.9 seconds remaining, North Summit tried to call a timeout, but it was already out of timeouts. Amazingly, Richfield missed both technical free throws. It still had a chance to tie the game, but missed two shots in the final 5.9 seconds as North Summit mobbed the court in celebration. Richfield desperately missed having star player Megan Bean on the floor in the final minute, as she fouled out with 39 seconds remaining.
7. 4A GIRLS SEMIFINAL
Springville 61, Mountain Crest 59
Easily the best game of the 4A tournament, Springville showed the guts of a champion in rallying for the win. The Mustangs came out red-hot in building a 36-23 halftime lead. Springville, however, outscored Mountain Crest 16-8 in the third quarter and then whittled the lead to 51-50 with four minutes remaining. Mountain Crest increased the lead to 58-55, but Springville's Savannah Park converted a big three-point play in the final minute to level the score at 58-58. Park then put the Red Devils ahead 60-58 on a pair of free throws. Mountain Crest had three shots from the field to tie it late, and then after getting fouled with four seconds remaining only made 1-of-2 free throws that could've tied it.
6. 2A BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP
South Sevier 52, Richfield 47
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