High school boys basketball: Duchesne relies on defense in comeback semifinal win
RICHFIELD — Duchesne head coach Stan Young had to remind his team there are no 12-point plays in basketball.
"It looked for a long time like things wouldn't go our way," said Young after the Eagles overcame a double-digit deficit to defeat Monticello 52-42 in the 1A semifinals Friday night at the Sevier Valley Center. "I've got to tell you, these are the most gutsy kids I've ever been around."
So at half time, he reminded them that basketball required patience, especially when trying to catch up.
"We just talked about grinding it out and being patient," said Young, who decided at the beginning of the season that 39 years and more than 560 wins was enough for one man. "You can't get it only one trip at a time. We just tried not to do it all at once."
It wasn't just better shot selection for the Eagles, it was stopping the very athletic Buckaroos.
"We clamped down defensively," Young said. "That's really the key to the whole thing, really how well we played defensively."
The Eagles came out of half time with more intensity and more pressure, and that allowed them to hold Monticello while they found their offensive rhythm. The Eagles were 11-16 from the free-throw line, which is not normally a strength for them.
"We didn't foul so much either," said Young. "They lived on the foul line, and we didn't get anything from there."
In the first half, the Buckaroos got to the foul line 13 times, where they scored 10 of their 26 points. The Eagles, on the other hand, were 1-of-4, mostly because they weren't driving to the basket.
The Eagles were led by Trent Roberts' double-double — 15 points and 13 rebounds. Teammate Josh Hanberg added 10 points, three assists and three steals, while Kaden Moon finished with eight assists and five steals to go with his four points. McKade Nielsen scored 12 points in the win.
"We just came together as a team, did what we had to do and pulled it out," said Josh Hanberg, who had three steals and three assists. "We just got on a run, fed off of each other and started playing for each other."
The Eagles had foul trouble early in the game, so Young was nervous about using the half-court trap, but he thought it might work. As it turned out, it was the very reason they were able to claw their way back into the game.
"The name of that game was defense," said Young. "And that's been our trademark, that's really who we are. We've been a great defensive team all year."