TAYLORSVILLE — In a flash it was over. Davis blinked, and a mere two minutes and 26 seconds into the game, the Darts were on the deck.
Riverton used two and-one conversions on its opening possessions to wobble the Darts’ legs. Then, after three Davis turnovers, the 'Wolves countered with six points from Whitney Saunders to jump out to a 12-0 lead with 5:34 left in the first quarter.
The shocking start left Davis puzzled, and the athletic Silverwolves left no room for imagination in their 58-31 knockout Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the girls 5A state tournament at Salt Lake Community College.
“I think that was our best start and I honestly think it’s because we took them so seriously,” Saunders, who tallied 12 points and five boards in 22 minutes, said. “We were like, 'This is Davis.'”
The tendency to fall into complacency after a quick start is fairly common. However, the ‘Wolves kept their foot on the pedal after watching Layton overcome a double-digit deficit against Alta earlier in the day.
“We saw earlier comebacks,” Saunders explained, “and we were like, ‘We don’t want to settle for this.’”
The Silverwolves shot 53 percent in the first half while limiting the Darts to 4 of 19 from the field. Riverton, exploiting Davis’ relative lack of speed with athleticism, took a 38-16 lead at the break. Surprisingly, the undersized ‘Wolves won the battle in the paint handily, 32-14.
“It was great because we’d been having trouble in the first quarter. We’re usually a third-quarter team,” said Riverton's Mallory Bostic. “We don’t play to our potential in the first quarter, so it was really great to jump up and not have to worry about playing catch-up.”
In Davis’ first-round matchup against West, center Jessica Richardson exploded for a season-high 27 points.
“We saw that (Richardson) scored so many points (on Monday) and we were like, ‘She’s not doing that,’” Saunders said.
Riverton released Gerika Ballard on Richardson, who limited the Darts’ star to only nine points.
“We watched their film. We played them earlier in preseason, and we didn’t beat them by a lot,” Bostic said. “It was a close game and they were a good team so we had that in our minds. We said, ‘We have to take this serious,’ and we did.”
Riverton will face Fremont in the semifinals.