Rich sophomore hits game-winning free throws thanks to special training from dad
RICHFIELD — The pressure of game-winning free throws might crush most sophomores.
But Rich’s Nick Jarman had spent most of his life preparing for the moment he found himself in Friday night in the 1A semifinals against Panguitch.
Trailing by one point, Jarman took the team’s final shot and was fouled with a second left on the clock. The crowd was so loud, there was some discussion about how much time was left on the clock, meanwhile, Jarman’s older brother, Mitch, had some advice for him before he walked to the free-throw line to try to win the game.
“I just went up to him and said, ‘Hey, remember Dad yelling at the baseline,’” said Mitch Jarman, after his brother hit both free throws to give Rich the 48-47 victory. “And he swooshed them.” Nick Jarman said the three of them have practiced this very scenario for as long as he can remember.
“Every day in the church, we shoot five free throws,” said Nick Jarman, who led all scorers with 17 points and six rebounds. “My dad is always doing all sorts of stuff to get us distracted. And I just imagined that and it worked.”
Both boys said their father is an intimidating guy, and while it was always good-natured, Nick said it helped him do what a lot of players his age would dread.
The moment meant even more to his older brother Mitch, who’d fouled out with 24 seconds left in regulation. The senior was whistled for a foul on the Bobcats' Trey Barney, who delivered under pressure to make both free throws to send the game into overtime.
Mitch Jarman, who finished with 12 points, including grabbing the steal and layup that gave Rich the lead with 42 seconds left in the game, was red-faced from crying, and he admitted it was agonizing to watch his team fight for the win from the sideline.
“That was terrible,” he said. “But I had faith in my team. I knew (Nick) would make them. All those hours in the gym where I was in his face, screaming during free-throw practice, it all paid off.”
The game was a nail-biter from the opening whistle to the final buzzer. It was fast-paced, hard-fought and well-played by both teams. The Bobcats were led by Dayson Houston, who scored 16 points and had five rebounds, while Barney finished with 10 points and Jace Eyre added 15 points in an impressive performance.
Rich head coach Ashley Brown said he was proud of how the team continued to fight, including those players who had to step in after Mitch Jarman fouled out.
“Other kids came in and stepped in and did a great job filling his shoes,” he said. “It was just a great team effort.” Brown said his team has the experience of winning last year’s 1A championship — which was the first boys basketball title in school history.
“Our kids are excited,” Brown said. “We’re happy. I’m proud of our kids. They did a heck of a job.”