I knew we would see something of a box-and-one on me, that’s what they ran the last time we played, so I just relied on my other teammates to make plays, which they did. —South Summit's Beau Rydalch
RICHFIELD — It didn’t take much time for the competition to heat up in the quarterfinals of the 2A state tournament Thursday morning as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, Emery and South Summit, clashed in an intense, back-and-forth battle in the opening game at the Sevier Valley Center.
The South Summit Wildcats were able to come out on top, 62-48, as they chalked up their 14th consecutive victory and will now advance to the 2A semifinals, where they will face either Enterprise or Merit.
“First of all, Emery is a great team and was picked by a lot of people to play in the championship, and we knew that,” South Summit head coach Dusty Hatch said. “They are well-coached, well-disciplined and their two guards (Baily Faimalo, Dillon Wilstead) are just outstanding. It was just a great, all-around effort from our team today.”
South Summit took complete control from the tipoff and managed to build a 26-18 lead with just 4:50 left in the first half.
The ’Cats' smothering defense irritated Emery’s two leading scorers, Faimolo (14.1) and Wilstead (16.5 ppg), as they combined for 25 points on just 10-of-24 shooting.
“Our game plan was try to take those two out of the game, because we felt like their whole team revolves around what they do,” Hatch said. “I thought Jones and Santos were outstanding for us in how they defended (them). We just said, ‘We are going to double-team every ball screen that is set for those two, and when they screen for one another we are going switch it,’ and I thought it was really effective for us. I thought our guys executed it almost perfectly.”
Beau Rydalch, whose 22.7 points per game led South Summit, sparked the Wildcats’ charge with a game-high 20 points and nine boards. Rydalch also made his presence known on the defensive end as he took three charges and altered numerous shot attempts.
“I knew we would see something of a box-and-one on me, that’s what they ran the last time we played, so I just relied on my other teammates to make plays, which they did,” said Rydalch.
Brad Richins really stepped up and provided the home team with a much-needed spark as he posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 boards to power South Summit.
“This is one of the better games Brad has had in about the last four or five," added Hatch. "He really stepped up to play today, and we have to have that from him, we can’t have Beau trying to do it all every game.”
South Summit owned just a three-point advantage after three quarters of play, but the Wildcats then opened up a 22-11 tear over the final eight minutes to put the game just out of the Spartans’ reach. The Wildcats went on to hit clutch free-throws down the stretch to seal the deal and survive another day.
“Enterprise and Merit are both great teams. We’ll watch this game and see what they do,” Hatch said. “I think the biggest thing is trying to get my guys motivated from a big win, because I feel like this was a great win. So coming off of this high, trying to get them ready to play a game again tomorrow is going to be a challenge. But my guys are competitors and they will be ready to go.”
Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications, and has been a part-time sports reporter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since October 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724