RICHFIELD — It is called a consolation game, but playing for third place doesn’t do much to ease the pain of a semifinal loss.
“It’s a hard game to play in,” said Rich head coach Ashley Brown after the Rebels defeated region rival Duchense for third place with a 58-45 win. “Because we want to be in the next one, and Duchesne wants to be in the next one. And it’s not easy to beat a team three times. I thought our kids did well under the circumstances.” The game was a struggle throughout, but the Rebels led most of the way. The team was led by McKay Jarman, who earned the game’s only double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. He also had a game-high four assists.
Caden Bartholomew and Skyler Argyle each added 10 points in the victory.
Brown said he told the top-ranked team that how they finished the season was up to them.
“You just tell them, ‘You have two choices. You either decide you can’t do anything about what happened to you last night, so you can come out and play well, or you can sulk and you can come out and not play very well and lose two in a row.’ ” The Rebels clearly didn’t want to lose two in a row. In fact, the Rebels hadn’t lost to an in-state team until Panguitch beat them in Friday’s semifinal.
“They’re disappointed,” he said. “And they’ll be disappointed for a few days. And then they’ll realize the season that they really had, and it will be easier. It still won’t be easy, but it will be easier.”
Duchesne was in a similar situation as it lost to Monticello in the semifinals. The Eagles were led by Blakes Jones and Alex Gatherum, who each scored nine points, and Trent Roberts’ 10 rebounds and four points. Daniel Hanberg added eight points.
Brown loses five seniors from the third-place team, and he said that while it may be hard to feel good about their accomplishments now, it’s easy to be proud of his team’s efforts all year.
“These kids have been great,” he said. “They’ve been very coachable, they’ve worked hard. Our goal was to win a state championship and we didn’t get that done, but they’ve listened and done what we’ve asked. They’ve had a great year, and they’ve lost two games all year long.”
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