After spending all season beating up on each other, the Region 12 teams have found somebody else to pick on - the rest of the competition in the 1A state boys' basketball tournament.
All six of the Region 12 representatives - listed from first to sixth seed, Kanab, Bryce Valley, Enterprise, Paroawan, Piute and North Sevier - advanced with victories in Thursday's opening round of the 16-team tournament at the BYU Marriott Center.North Sevier, the sixth seed that has to play the regular season in the 2A Region 10 and barely qualified for the 1A tourney by beating Panguitch in a Region 12 last-ditch playoff two days earlier, pulled off the day's biggest upset by beating - handily, too - top-ranked South Summit, 59-40.
The Wolves used a first-half spurt to post leads of double digits, with the Region 11 champion Wildcats only able to draw within eight in the third period and seven in the fourth.
Of course, South Summit was weakened by some obvious health-related disadvantages. Returning 1A MVP Mark Rydalch has missed most of the season after suffering a severe knee injury, while starter Robert Hortin recently suffered his second broken wrist - he played Wednesday with both wrists heavily taped.
But the worst malady ailing the Wildcats was an obvious tightness and nervous - symptoms seemingly shared by all the participating 1A teams, making for some sloppy game sequences at times.
Leading the Wolves was Nathan Hallows and his 27-point performance, with Corbin Partridge adding another 10. Hortin was the only Wildcat in double figures with 12, as South Summit could muster only 10 points in each of the two second-half quarters after a seven-point first period.
Kanab 93, Whitehorse 57: The Region 12 champion Cowboys had little trouble saddling Whitehorse with the lopsided loss, that started with scores of 22-8 and 47-25 after the first two quarters. Jim Lyon finished with 19 points, while Jason Hafen and Mike Dinsmore each added 14 for Kanab, which had 10 players scoring.
Meanwhile, sophomore Jimmy Clah was responsible for nearly half of Whitehorse's points, with his 28 points including five 3-pointers. Kirby Yanito contribued another three treys and 14 total points.
Piute 77, North Summit 71: The Thunderbirds defeated the fifth-ranked Braves - not so much of an upset for Piute as it was a suggestion that previously ranked Piute was returning to prior form.
Michael Bagley scored 24 and Troy Coburn 16 for the T-birds, while Jason Torgersen was limited to 10 in his foul-plagued appearance. Three players combined to score all but six of North Summit's points, as Chad Willoughby finished with 23, Kyle Dearden 22 and Beau Morrill 20.
Enterprise 68, St. Joseph 53: The three-time defending 1A champion Wolves outscored the Jays 23-12 in the second quarter to up the lead to a double-digit margin in the second half. Kevin Holt led Enterprise with a game-high 22, while Kayle Chambers added another 15. Bryan Jeffreys was the only St. Joseph player in double-figure scoring with 10 points.
Duchesne 87, Waterford 57: The victory for the second-ranked Eagles may prove to be a costly one, as 6-foot-6 center Alan Spencer suffered a knee injury in the second half. Jared Mitchell picked up the slack insideinside with 24 points, while Jason Young canned another 19 from perimeter play.
Making their first-ever state-tournament appearance, Waterford was within 15 points early in the fourth quarter. Doug Lesh led Waterford with 33 points, including all five of his team's three-pointers.
Bryce Valley 88, Altamont 72: The Mustangs survied foul trouble and an early fourth-quarter rally by the Longhorns, as Trevor Stewart scored 24 points and Todd Feltner 23. Eric Stout added 17 for Bryce Valley.
Ronny Marshall tallied a team-high 22, including all five Altamont 3-pointers. Roy Justice added 19 and David Rust 18.
Parowan 64, Rich 59: The Rams never trailed and held off a late-game Rebel flurry. And while Rich outscored its opponent 22-14 in the final quarter, the Rebels' demise started when they went scoreless through the opening three-plus minutes.
With all of its fourth-quarter points coming on free throws, Parowan had four players in double figures, led by Brandon Thornton's four treys and 21 points. Vernon Hatch led Rich with a 21-point outing as well.
Green River 66, Dugway 56: The Pirates regained the lead by turning a 27-23 halftime deficit into a 42-40 lead at the end of the third quarter by outscoring the Mustangs 19-13. The Pirates extended the margin with a 24-16 advantage in the fourth period.
Green River's Tom Hughes finished with a game-high 19 points, while teammates Gary Quarnberg and Lory Quarnberg scored 15 and 14, respectively. Hank Hankerson and Sandy Witkowski paced Dugway with 16 each.
In championship-bracket quarterfinal play, Kanab plays Piute, Enterprise faces Duchesne, Bryce Valley meets Parowan and North Sevier squares off against Green River.
The consolation matchups include: Whitehorse vs. North Summit; St. Joseph vs. Waterford; Altamont vs. Rich; and South Summit vs. Dugway.