RICHFIELD — Even when the Panguitch Bobcats were winning in the first half of the team's consolation game, head coach Clint Barney looked unhappy.
"I was upset because we looked like we were playing as individuals and not as a team," Barney said after the Bobcats earned fifth place with a 52-42 win over Valley Saturday at the Sevier Valley Center. "In both games, yesterday and today, we were a little bit selfish. It was, 'I'm going to go get mine.' So I was upset about that. But we came back in the second half. That was our whole halftime speech — we're not going to beat teams as individuals. If you line our kids up against the top teams in this state, we're not as athletic as some. We need to play as a unit. Both days games they came back and played as a unit."
That not only made coach Barney smile, it gave the Bobcats an overtime win against Tabiona Friday and a final win of the season Saturday. Playing for fifth-place is now what the Bobcats set out to do, but they relied on their tradition in coming back after a quarterfinal loss that sent them into consolation play.
"First of all, we executed and we played hard — and we lost," Barney said. "Sometimes that just happens. That night, Duchesne was the better team. There's no shame in that. Secondly, we feel like we have a deep tradition at our school of finishing things out and carrying ourselves with pride."
They discussed the expectations for the team after Thursday's loss to Duchesne.
"We're not going to come out and just give it up," he said. "(The win) means so much more when they work together. And I'm pleased. No, we're not playing for a championship, but to win three out of four and finish strong, that's a positive thing."
The first half was close with Panguitch holding onto a two-point lead at halftime.
Tyce Barney and his father agreed the team's best moment was defeating Bryce Valley in double overtime in the Region 20 tournament.
"That was probably the best moment by far," he said smiling. "We didn’t get to cut the nets down here at the state tournament, but we did somewhere. That was for sure our biggest win all year."
He understands why his father gets upset when the players try to win games on their own. But he admits it's also difficult to learn to play as a unit.
"It's hard, but we work all year on doing that stuff," he said. "We put a lot of time into it; it doesn't come easy. Panguitch is a traditional team, and we've always played together." Like his father, he was disappointed after losing in the second round of tournament play, but said every time they step on the court, they're also playing for pride.
"We're a good program and he wants us to show that," said Tyce Barney.
Panguitch loses four seniors, three of whom start.
"We have some good kids coming back," said coach Barney. "Tyce is kind of our centerpiece and he'll be back. You hate to see one year end and look forward to the next, but we'll come back and try to get another opportunity to do a little bit better than we did this year."