We had a good chat on the sideline of how bad we wanted to get to the next game, and they responded. —Richfield coach Marc Peterson

ST. GEORGE — Richfield’s Emma Jones knew what needed to be done.

Her coach had just called a timeout and quite animatedly pleaded with his players to stop playing so passive offensively with a berth in the 3A championship on the line. Basically, coach Marc Peterson told them to go win the game.

“He said it’s gut check time, we’ve got to score. We came out of that fired up and ready to come back,” said Jones.

The Wildcats were brilliant coming out of the timeout, scoring on every possession in the third quarter to pull away for the 36-23 over Juab on Friday night at Dixie State.

“We had a good chat on the sideline of how bad we wanted to get to the next game, and they responded,” said Peterson.

It was a necessary response because Juab was the better team coming out of the locker room at halftime. The underdog Wasps opened the third with a 6-0 run to whittle Richfield’s once 13-point lead to 23-21 with 4:09 left in the quarter.

That’s when Peterson called his timeout, and Jones came right out of that timeout and changed the entire complexion of the game with two aggressive buckets to push the lead back to 27-21.

“I just had a feeling like this is our game, I need to do this for my team,” said Jones of the changed mentality.

Nabity followed with a running jumper in the lane, and by the end of the third Richfield was comfortably back in front 34-22.

From there Richfield took the air out of the basketball and locked things down defensively to book its place in Saturday’s championship at Dixie State at 5 p.m. Richfield outscored Juab 2-1 in the fourth quarter, with Juab scoring its only point of the quarter with 12 seconds left in the game.

Even though everyone fully expected Richfield to advance to another championship game, Peterson said that’s what makes it so satisfying.

“Everybody expects you, but it’s hard to get here. I told the girls to enjoy the moment because there’s a lot of teams that don’t get this far,” he said.

Juab came into the game hoping the post presence of Hannah Robins could help it counter Richfield’s stout defense. She was effective early scoring Juab’s first 12 points, but Juab’s supporting cast struggled to knock down their own shots.

McKaizlee Cowan was the first Juab player to score a basket besides Robins, but it was a big one as her 3-pointer shortly before halftime helped give Juab momentum heading into halftime only down 23-15.

In the second half Robins didn’t score as she faced constant double-teams whenever she got the ball. Madison Roberts was responsible for fronting Robins in the paint, yet offensively she still found a way to add 10 points to go along with Jones’ 11.

“For her to step up and hit 3s and score was a big plus for us,” said Peterson.