RICHFIELD — It was 1A boys’ basketball at its most intense Thursday night as Rich outlasted Wendover in a 75-65 overtime thrill ride.
“That’s why you play the games,” said Ashley Brown, coach of the Rich Rebels. “They handle the ball well, they shoot the ball well. They are a great team.”
Wendover’s boys were ranked in first place headed into the tournament, and had a 62-46 win over Rich under their belt from earlier in the season.
“Our boys did a good job of getting the ball the basket and putting the pressure on them,” Brown said.
Rich’s Jared Anderson hit the first bucket of the game, but then Wendover’s Wildcats launched themselves onto the court with a rapid-fire attack. The Wildcats went on a 9-1 run early in the first stanza.
Rich’s Jaden Nelson was able to break up the sprint with a pair of shots in the paint.
“We knew that we had to stop their guards,” Brown said. “We didn’t, but we were able to slow them down a little bit.”
Rich’s boys were able to impede the Wendover offense enough that they gained the lead with 1:21 left in the first stanza, which ended 21-18 in favor of the Rebels.
Wendover was able to claim a 37-33 edge by the break.
Rich’s Reagan Huefner opened the second half with an eight-point jaunt, putting the Rebels ahead.
From that point on the two teams battled back and forth, but Rich maintained the edge.Comment on this story
With 3:31 to go in regulation, the Rebels were up by six. That’s when Wendover’s Brayan Mendoza dropped in a trey, followed by a run and gun off a steal by Montalvo. The two Wildcats took turns scoring until the game was knotted at 63-all, which is when regulation ended.
The bonus period turned into a foul shooting contest.
“You have to make foul shots in the state championship,” Brown said.
Rich’s boys drained eight charity shots to help put them over the top.
“It’s hard, you have to win four games in row to be the state champion,” Brown said. “You take the kids to a gym, shoot around a little bit and hope when the time comes they’re ready to play.”
Rich is set to take on Region 22 rival Tabiona Friday at 7 p.m.