It’s sad to be done, but I’m really glad we went out this way. I love my team. I wouldn’t want any other team. They’re awesome. We’re like family and I’m just really grateful that we could do this together. —Kennedy Redding
TAYLORSVILLE — Although the Bountiful girls basketball team hadn't won a state championship since 2001, its head coach, Joel Burton, has known for a while that his 2016 team was capable of winning it all.
Turns out Burton was right.
The Braves were able to hoist the 4A state championship trophy on Saturday after defeating Springville 63-42. Dominant team performances in the second and fourth quarters, along with yet another superb effort from 6-foot-4 center Kennedy Redding, were keys for Bountiful.
Redding, who likely played her last game on the hardwood after signing with BYU to play volleyball, had trouble holding back her emotions amidst the postgame celebrations.
“It’s sad to be done, but I’m really glad we went out this way,” Redding said. “I love my team. I wouldn’t want any other team. They’re awesome. We’re like family and I’m just really grateful that we could do this together.”
As mentioned, Redding was completely dominant throughout the tournament and as good as ever in Saturday's final win.
The senior was the model of efficiency on the offensive end, converting eight of 12 field goal attempts, and 12 of her 14 free throws for a game-high 28 points. On the defensive end, she hauled down 21 rebounds while blocking four shots.
“Kennedy is absolutely incredible,” said Bountiful coach Joel Burton. “To me, she’s the best player in the state and I don’t think there’s anyone else who can do what she does and she deserves all the credit she gets.”
Redding was perhaps at her best during a defining second quarter of play during Saturday's championship.
With Springville leading 13-11 after one quarter, the Braves set out on a 21-1 run to take a commanding 32-14 lead. Redding scored 11 of her team's points during the run while commanding the paint on both ends of the court.
“It was great for our kids to just come out and set the momentum and say that this game is ours,” Burton said of his team's second-quarter effort. “I think they had that belief in themselves from minute one out here.”
The Red Devils wouldn't go down without a fight, however, and chipped away at the lead throughout the third to trail just 35-46 entering the final period.
But as Bountiful has proven throughout this year's tournament, it owns the fourth quarter.
Deft foul-shooting and suffocating defense engineered a game-sealing 14-2 run at the outset of the final quarter stretching until there was 1:36 left in the game to increase the Braves' lead to 60-37.
“We told them it was a lot about composure and poise out here on the floor,” Burton said of how his team was able to close things out. “We expected Springville to come out hard in the third quarter. They’re a really good team, so we just talked composure, composure and when it became our moment we knew we could finish off the game. So we survived their run and said we’ll just finish it out at the line like we’ve done all year.”
Other big contributors for the Braves included guards Amy Chidester and Jaimee Stahle, who scored 12 and 11 points, respectively. Chidester, who runs the point for Bountiful was particularly good, adding six assists and a perfect 5-5 from the field to her stat line.
"My teammates were awesome and it took everyone to win this," Redding said.
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