The Timpview Thunderbirds battled odds and obstacles - only one returning starter, a first-year

A title game head coach, controversy surrounding the departure of the former coach, the pressure of trying to be the first team in more than 15 years to repeat as 3A basketball, and living in the shadows of top-ranked, "Title Team-of-the-'80s" Provo _ to claim its own second consecutive 3A crown.

Timpview successfully defended its 1988 title with a 88-81 triumph Friday night before 6,000 people in the Marriott Center in the finals of UHSAA-First Security Bank 3A state tournament.

The T-birds become the first 3A team to repeat as champions since Bingham opened up the new school-size classification with back-to-back crowns in 1972 and 1973. Of course, Timpview won't be looking for a third 3A trophy next year since it is one of several schools stepping up to the 4A level. But that's next year, with Timpview taking its time right now to relish its recent accomplishment.

Leading the way Friday night was senior guard Quincy Lewis, not only the only starter back from last year's titlist T-bird team but also the only returnee who even saw action in the '88 finals. The 6-foot senior scored 33 points in the championship game _ including four three-pointers and a 19-of-20 performance from the line _ after battling with some less-than-spectacular outings in Timpview's previous tourney appearances. "I knew my scoring and leadership was needed, so I made sure I sayed in this one."

Lewis also acknowledged the absence on the bench of his father, former head coach Tim Lewis, who resigned last March after allegations of improper conduct with a student. The resignation has been followed with reported recantations and litigations and is still in the court of a different kind.

"My dad is the proudest man of anybody in this building," the younger Lewis said as his teammates paraded around the floor in postgame celebrations. "He's a great person both as a man and a coach and I have the most respect for him out of anybody in this building."

Any chances that the ongoing controversy might have hindered the T-birds this season were not only put to rest with the crown-claiming performance but by the team's 22-3 overall record, with a pair of regular season losses to top-ranked Provo and an upset at Spanish Fork the only blemishes after Timpview's 1987-88 25-0 perfect season.

Meanwhile, the loss spoiled a 37-point outing by Bulldog point guard Jimmy Soto. Judge Coach Jim Yerkovich admitted the four-day tourney format and an emotional triumph over Provo the night before took its toll on the second-ranked Bulldogs, who finished with a 23-2 record. "It was in their hearts, but not in their legs."

Meanwhile, the 5-foot-9 Soto did his best to make good on an I.O.U. to Yerkovich. It was Soto four years ago, as a 5-4 freshman at now-defunct South High, who sank two final-second game-winning free throws to keep Bulldogs from the state playoffs for the first and only time in Yerkovich's two-plus decades at Judge. After Soto transferred to Judge two seasons ago, the pair have kiddingly created the need for a return favor.

But Soto was all business, especially in the fourth quarter when he scored 18 of Judge's 26 points, including three of his four three-pointers. Despite a double-digit deficit, his back-to back treys with less than two minutes to play brought the Bulldogs back to within seven, and his third triple of the quarter made it 86-81 with only a dozen seconds to play.

But the real damage had been done earlier, especially in the second and third quarters. Timpview managed a 22-19 lead after the first period, despite 10 lead changes between the two teams.

In the second, the T-birds uncorked a 12-3 run, consisting of some awfully long two- and three-pointers to go up by as many as 13 points midway in the period. "I thought our outside shooting was really good - it's a part of our offense," said Coach Don Chamberlain of the T-birds' fast-break converstion and early transition attack.

Yerkovich agreed. "That's the finest outside shooting team I think I've ever seen.

And although an 8-2 Judge run late in the second brought the margin down to six, it was up to 12 again quickly _ 47-35 at the half _ as junior forward Bryon Ruffner completed a three-point play and Lewis added a three-point bomb.

Another 12-2 Bulldog spurt early inthe third cut the Timpview lead to five, as both teams started trying to hard and, as a result, ended up playing a little sloppily. But Lewis connected on his fouth three-pointer of the night, Ruffner made good on another three-point play and Paul Finlayson followed a miss with one of his several lay-ins on the night. Timpview lead 64-55 at the end of three.

Finlayson and Ruffner finished with 22 and 12 points, respectively, while Chris Young contributed another 18. Judge's Chris Jones _ one of four Bulldog starters to return next year and who will assume Soto's vacancy at point _ had a solid 22-point performance.

Consolation games

Provo 85, Spanish Fork 71: Mark Durrant scored 34 points as the Bulldogs followed a disappointing semifinal loss to Judge with their third win of the season over their Region 8 peer Dons for the tournament's third-place honors. Provo's Blake Ballif added another 15, while Spanish Fork was led by a 22-point outing by Randy Reid.

Ogden 61, Pine View 60: The Tigers barely survived a 28-point fourth-quarter barrage by the Panthers, with PV's Beau Gledhill scoring a trio of treys and 17 of his game-high 24 points in the final eight minutes. Ogden had four players in double-digit scoring, led by Jeff Knowles' 13.

Pleasant Grove 68, Carbon 55: In another Region 8 matchup that decided the consolation championship, the Vikings earned 6th place by outscoring the Dinos 27-14 in the final period. PG's Lincoln Church scored 23 points and Nathan Ash added another 16, while Carbon center Kean Johnson finished with a game-high 25 pionts, including a pair of 3-pointers.