CEDAR CITY — With 20 seconds remaining in the semifinal game between Bryce Valley and Valley on Friday night, Kace Roundy came to the rescue when his team needed him the most.
Roundy hit a floating jumper in the left corner to lift the Mustangs to an exciting 44-43 victory and a berth into the Region 20 championship game.
Roundy sat the bench most of the first half because of foul trouble, but the Mustangs worked hard without their star player on the court. Jake Pearson took the role of the star as he hit two 3-pointers and a total of 12 points in the first half to help the Mustangs build a 23-15 lead over the Buffaloes heading into the half.
Valley, having been behind by 13 at one point in the first half, entered the third quarter with more determination. Hayden Harris broke the Buffaloes' cold shooting with nine points in the quarter to cut the deficit down to five, 31-26.
Again, Harris was ustoppable in the final period. Harris scored 12 points, all from beyond the arc except for three foul shots, in a three-minute span to give Valley a three-point lead with 3:30 remaining in the game. With a minute to go and the Buffaloes still holding the three-point margin, Bryce Valley turned up the heat on the defensive side. Valley missed two crucial free throws near the end of the game and made a costly turnover with 30 seconds remaining, giving the Mustangs the chance to gain the victory.
"When Kace was in foul trouble, I told the other guys we're going to win this game by defense," senior Korde Chynoweth said. "That's what we did. We all stepped up and played hard D."
Pearson led the way for the Mustangs with 19 points, propelling the Mustangs into the Region 20 championship game. Roundy added 10 points of his own. Harris was on fire, netting a game-high 25 points including five treys.
"If we come out and play defense and execute the ball tomorrow night, we will win — no doubt in my mind!" said Chynoweth.
The Mustangs will face the Milford Tigers in the championship game at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday at Canyon View High School. Milford played a complete game against the top-ranked Piute Thunderbirds to get the upset, 48-41.
Valley drops to the third/fourth place game and will face Piute at 5:15 p.m. Wayne ousted Escalante from the tournament with a 60-32 victory, and will now face Panguitch at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Lane Sorensen, a senior at Valley High School, enjoys writing sports articles especially about basketball. Lane plans to attend Utah State University in the fall where he wants to major in journalism.
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