RICHFIELD — The Richfield Wildcats punched their ticket to the championship game Friday night in an 81-57 blowout against Emery’s Spartans.
“You always hope for a win like that,” said Richfield coach Rand Janes. The Wildcats had defeated Emery twice during the regular season, but sometimes getting three in a row can be difficult.
“The kids did a great job of focusing on what their job was in the moment,” Janes said.
“We have some great shooters,” Janes said. He said the outside shooting helps spread the floor, opening things up for the big guys in the paint to make inside shots.
“It’s a great combination to have,” Janes said. The first quarter ended with Richfield holding a 23-13 edge. Two more treys for Richfield from Thalman and Payton Thompson boosted the lead further.
Emery fought back as Kyson Stilson nailed a pair of 3-pointers late in the second period to pull the Spartans within 10 points. It would be as close as they would get to the Wildcats for the rest of the night.
Through the second half, both teams hit the throttle, making long passes and dives at the ball.
Richfield was able to capitalize on the faster pace through the fourth quarter and cement the win.
“It was a team effort for us,” Janes said. “Emery does a great job of getting into the paint. Our boys were able to slow them down.”
Thalman led the Wildcats with 21 points and four 3-pointers. Hafen had 17 points for Richfield, while Payton Thompson reached into double digits as well, with 13 points. Keldon Anderson had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds against the Spartans.Comment on this story
The win pits Richfield against Morgan in the championship game Saturday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.
“It’s a good venue and a great atmosphere for us,” Janes said. “Morgan is a quality team. It should be fun.”
Morgan was able to outlast a scrappy Manti squad Friday night, taking a 48-41 win over last year’s state champions.
The Trojans are the top team from Region 13, and last met the Wildcats during a preview Dec. 1. Richfield won that game 53-51.
“They’re a lot better now, and hopefully so are we,” Janes said.