High school basketball: Top 10 playoff games

Published: Monday, March 5 2012 7:00 p.m. MST

Bitter rivals South Sevier and Richfield put on one heck of a show in front of 5,000 fans at the Sevier Valley Center in the 2A title game. It was a showdown of huge momentum swings. Richfield, which was playing in its first title game since 1993, jumped out to an early 13-3 lead. No. 1-ranked South Sevier battled back and closed the half on an 11-0 run to take a 27-22 halftime lead. It increased the lead to 41-31 by the end of the third quarter, but Richfield wasn't about to go away quietly. It fought back and cut the deficit to 46-43 in the final few minutes, but tournament MVP Race Parsons finally iced South Sevier's second straight championship with two free throws with 11.6 seconds remaining.


Snow Canyon 50, Desert Hills 47

Sometimes a championship game doesn't live up to the hype, but this year's 3A title game in St. George between Region 9 rivals most definitely did. Snow Canyon led throughout much of the game, but Desert Hills never let it get out of hand. It remained within striking distance the entire game, and with 49 seconds remaining took a rare 47-46 lead on a baseline hook shot from Haley Bodnar. Tournament MVP Amy Harris helped Snow Canyon regain the lead 11 seconds later on a pair of free throws to put her team in front 48-47. Desert Hills had two possessions to try and regain the lead, but turned it over twice. After two more free throws by Harris, the Thunder failed to get off desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.


Herriman 56, Logan 55

Herriman sure made a splash in its first state tournament game in school history. With the Mustangs trailing Logan by two with four seconds remaining, Tueni Lupeamanu caught an inbounds pass at the top of the key and quickly kicked it to Jaden Rasmussen on the wing. Rasmussen confidently drained the 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to cap a wild night at the Maverik Center, one that ended at 10:30 p.m. Logan was in great position to win when Herriman turned the ball over with 15 seconds remaining. Not only were the Grizzlies leading by two, but Herriman only had three team fouls. That actually turned out to be a good thing for Herriman. In a desperate attempt to avoid getting fouled, a Logan player threw the ball out of bounds with six seconds remaining, setting the stage for Rasmussen's heroics.


Desert Hills 55, Dixie 51

In front of a packed Burns Arena that had well over 1,000 fans waiting from the concourse for the second 3A semifinal, Desert Hills showed tremendous poise in the final few minutes to hold off a gutty effort from an upset-minded Dixie team. Dixie only led once the entire game, but it came in crunch time with a Walker Swenson three-point play putting the Flyers ahead 48-47 with 2:42 remaining. Desert Hills never trailed after Tyler Ott regained the lead with 2:21 remaining, but it wasn't easy. Only down 53-51 with 20 seconds remaining, Dixie had a chance to tie the game, but Jaden Beckstrand came up with a clutch steal. Beckstrand came up huge again with an offensive rebound with nine seconds left, and then iced it at the free-throw line, putting his team ahead 55-51 by making 1-of-2 free throws.


Olympus 59, East 55

These Salt Lake City rivals went toe-to-toe for 32 minutes in a wild quarterfinal game that featured numerous momentum shifts before Olympus finally sealed the victory from the free- throw line. East hadn't won a playoff game in a decade heading into this year's tournament, but it used a 16-0 run in the first half to build an improbable 29-20 lead. Olympus regrouped at the half, and tied the game at 43-43 late in the third quarter by sinking a pair of technical free throws. After the teams traded buckets throughout fourth quarter, Olympus built a 58-55 lead and dodged a bullet when East star Parker Van Dyke missed a pair of free throws in the final 25 seconds.


Riverton 52, Viewmont 51 (2OT)

Riverton's unlikely march to the semifinals could've easily ended in the first round had Viewmont held onto a 13-point first-half lead by sinking free throws down the stretch. It couldn't, though, as Riverton took advantage with the stunning comeback in the first round. After missing a potential game-winner at the end of regulation, Riverton's Stephan Holm came up huge in overtime. He hit a 3-pointer to cut Viewmont's lead to 44-43, and after Viewmont's Tanner Gamble sank a pair of free throws with 7.4 seconds remaining, Holm hit a baseline 3 at the buzzer to force double overtime. In the second OT, Nathan Erickson hit a pair of free throws with 11 seconds remaining to build a 52-49 lead, and the 'Wolves hung on as Viewmont only made 1-of-2 free throws with three seconds left.

Email: jedward@desnews.com