The title defense is still on for 1990 2A prep basketball champion North Sevier, as the Wolves used a 26-11 first-half spurt en route to a 57-40 win over South Summit in Friday's semifinals of the 2A tournament at Dixie College.
Meanwhile, at the 1A tournament at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Rowland Hall's maiden voyage in state-playoff action made the Lions the bridesmaids in Friday's 1A semifinals as Piute used a second-half surge to down Rowland Hall 77-66.North Sevier and Piute were the first two to qualify for Saturday's 2A and 1A state championship games, with their opponents to be decided in Friday's late-night semifinals.
North Sevier 57, South Summit 40: The Wolves were nursing a 7-6 lead with 2:50 left in the first period before embarking on a 26-11 run through the rest of the quarter and the end of the first half. Ryan Braithwaite scored 14 of his game-high 23 points in the opening half, working underneath relatively open and free as the Wildcats concentrated their defensive efforts on Nathan Hallows.
Of course, North Sevier's standout junior moved outside to contribute to the damage - he hit a series of three 3-pointers and a 2-pointer in the second period as the Wolves went up 33-17 at the half. With the shooting touch not on for most of the night, South Summit couldn't cut its deficit below a dozen throughout the second half.
Besides Braithwaite's 23 points, Hallows had 15 and Ricky Torgerson 10.
San Juan 66, Juab 65: After a 14-point Bronco lead dwindled down to a scoring battle between Todd Pay and Nathan Nielson, Pay hit two FTs for a 65-64 Wasp lead with :07 to play. San Juan's 5-foot-6 Brook Shumway drove the length of the court and dished off to Ryan Nielson for a game-winning, buzzer-beating layup. Pay finished with 27 points, while Nathan Nielson had eight treys and 24 points for San Juan.
Millard 65, Hurricane 54: In a game for sixth-place honors, the Eagles found themselves down by four to start the fourth quarter but outscored the Tigers 24-9 in the final period. Rick Robins scored 19 points and Millard teammate added 17 more, while Jason Jackman finished with a game-high 22 points for Hurricane.
Grantsville 69, Morgan 60: The Cowboys overturned a one-point halftime deficit by outscoring the Trojans 44-34 in the second half. Steve Mondragon's three treys and 15 points led four Grantsville players in double figures.
North Sanpete 76, Park City 56: The Hawks exploded early - scoring 22 points in the first period and 25 in the second for a 47-25 halftime lead. Matt Bailey's 13 points were high for a balanced North Sanpete scoring that included four in double figures.
Saturday's 2A finals
North Sevier (21-3) returns the 2A finals for the second straight year and will play in the 4 p.m. championship game against San Juan (21-2), with each team having beaten the other once this year. South Summit (19-5) drops down to consolation play in a 2:10 p.m. game against Juab (16-7) for third and fourth places. And in a 12:30 p.m. contest for fifth and seventh places, North Sanpete (17-7) battles Grantsville (12-12).
Piute 77, Rowland Hall 66: The Region 12 champion T-birds locked up their spot in Saturday's 1A title game, despite falling behind the Lions 11-2 in the opening moments of Friday's semifinal. After trailing 18-12 at the end of the first period, Piute evened the score at 20-all in the second. But RH's Steve Harmsen scored 10 of his team-high 18 points before the half as the Lions regained a 37-30 advantage at intermission.
But the likes of Piute scorers Travis Fullmer, Russell Torgersen and Lee Robinson went to work as the T-birds outscored the Lions 47-29 in the second half.
Green River 68, Milford 55: With a three-point lead and 90 seconds to play, the Pirates scored the game's final 10 points and finished shooting 21-of-23 from the line. Green River's Gary Quarnberg scored all of his 23 points in the second and third periods; Milford was led by Todd Puffer's 18 points.
Panguitch 75, Dugway 61: The Bobcats led 22-16 and 42-24 after the first two periods. Burke Fullmer's 17 points paced three Panguitch players in double figures. With Ray Wright injured and unavailable, Dugway was led by Brett Andrus' four treys and 18 points.
Rich 79, Tabiona 61: Jesse Webb's 16 points was tops among four Rebels in double-digit scoring. The Tigers were eliminated despite Jarrod Lefler's 33 points - including 12 in the final period.
ICS 68, Parowan 59: After a buzzer-beating trey allowed them a win the day before, the Lions overcome a six-point halftime deficit to outscore the Rams 31-17 in the final quarter. ICS' Jeremy Heiser finished with 27 points - 21 in the second half, while David Topham had a Parowan-best 21 points.
North Summit 67, Valley 62: Brandon Jones of the Braves scored 10 of his game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter, as North Summit outscored Valley 26-18 for the victory. Cody McDonald led the Buffaloes with five treys and 17 points.
Saturday's 1A finals
Second-ranked Piute (22-2) advances to the 5 p.m. 1A title game against top-ranked Green River (22-2), which is undefeated versus 1A competition this season. Rowland Hall (21-4) moves into the 3:30 p.m. game for third and fourth places versus Milford (11-11).
In the other consolation games, Rich (13-11) pairs off with ICS (16-9) for the consolation championship and sixth- and eight-place honors, while 1990 1A champ Panguitch (13-10) meets North Summit (17-8) to decide fifth and seventh places.