We had a choice at that time to whine about it, or dedicate ourselves to get better. —Panguitch coach Clint Barney
RICHFIELD — When Panguitch High School senior Trey Barney walked off the court for the final time, he was met with an embrace from his father and coach.
With a minute left on the clock, Panguitch had cemented a 63-39 victory over Valley during the 1A boys state basketball championship game in the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield Saturday.
“I’m so happy for my dad,” Trey said. “I know how much this means to him.”
The Barneys were in the state championship during Trey’s freshman year. That game ended in a stinging 55-46 loss to Monticello.
“I don’t know if there’s anything worse,” said Panguitch coach Clint Barney. “It feels good to do it with my son. This time, I don’t know if there’s anything better.”
The decisive win over Valley was the result of a yearlong journey that included lots of hard work and basketball, according to Clint Barney.
“We were here last year and got beat in the semifinals,” he said. He said last year’s semifinals game came down to a pair of foul shots with less than a second to go.
“We had a choice at that time to whine about it, or dedicate ourselves to get better,” Barney said. He said from that point forward, Panguitch’s boys were united by a goal that this year’s state tournament would not come down to a single play.
The Bobcats asserted their plan early in the game, repeating the mantra that has carried them through the entire season — defense.
“We did what we’ve done all year,” Barney said. “Hard work pays off.” The effort to emphasize defense worked well against Valley, a team known for shooting the perimeter.
“They’re so good and they spread you out,” Barney said. “We knew that Valley was going to make some shots, and that we had to be there to contest every shot and make some rebounds. We did that, and that’s the difference.”
Heading into the game, Valley was coming off a thrilling overtime victory against Rich the night before. Valley had also pushed Panguitch to overtime earlier in the year.
“Coach told us that we’d beat them before, and we’d be able to beat them again,” said Panguitch junior Jace Eyre.
Panguitch was able to vex Valley’s perimeter attack, holding the Buffaloes to five treys — half of what they shot the previous night.
The Bobcats asserted themselves early in the game, as Eyre banged his way into the paint three times in the first stanza to help spur a 14-7 edge. Eyre finished the night as the game high scorer with 21 points.
Panguitch rolled through the next period, going on an 18-4 run. The only points for Valley in the second stanza came from the free-throw line.
The Bobcats continued to control the game through the second half, piling on 10 points from the foul line and eight more from the floor.
Meanwhile, Valley was still struggling to find its stride. Buffalo Orrin Wood fired off a pair of treys, while teammate Cobe Reck put in a layup and four points from the foul line. Reck totaled 17 points to lead Valley.
Panguitch’s starting lineup trickled back to the bench as the final eight minutes played out.
“We worked our guts out all year to come and play in this tournament,” said Panguitch junior Trevor Wolfley, who fired off a pair of 3-pointers during the game. “Just to be here in the championship game is an honor, but to win it is unreal.”
The Bobcats end the year with a 27-1 record.
1A All-Tournament Team
MVP — Trey Barney, Panguitch
Jace Eyre, Panguitch
Acey Orton, Panguitch
Trevor Wolfley, Panguitch
Colby Reck, Valley
Nick Jarman, Rich