RICHFIELD — The third time proved to be the charm as Tabiona’s boys basketball team derailed region rival Rich’s run at the 1A state basketball tournament in Richfield.

With the 59-52 win, Tabiona earned its first appearance in the state title game in 13 years.

“They beat us both times during region,” said Lee Gines, coach of the Tabiona Tigers. “We’ve had a great season in a tough region.”

Gines said the Region 22 teams battled each other all year, which helped make them all better for the tournament. Tabiona finished with the third seed in the region, behind Manila and Rich.

“They are all good teams,” Gines said.

Meeting Rich on the court during the semifinals was an opportunity for the Tigers to earn some vindication, as the Rebels had claimed two victories over Tabiona earlier in the season.

“We were fortunate to win to tonight,” Gines said. “The kids were looking forward to playing Rich again. Both times that they beat us, they were both just dog fights.”

Friday’s game played out differently.

Rich sprinted to an early 11-4 lead in the first quarter, which was capped off with a 3-pointer from Kasin Trenery, who totaled 16 points in the game.

“They got down a little bit in the first quarter, but battled back,” Gines said. “They just kept hustling and working.”

By the half, Tabiona had taken stolen the lead as Dakota Young, Landon Rhoades and Wyatt Fabrizio all made shots. The Tabiona defense also became stifling, holding Rich to just one field goal in the second stanza.

The Tigers were able to keep control of the game through the third period. The third quarter ended as Tabiona’s Gaige Riley snagged the inbound pass and immediately tossed it toward the bucket — draining a trey as the third quarter buzzer sounded. The play was a big energy booster for the Tigers, Gines said.

“When you make a shot like that, the momentum is going to go your way,” Gines said. “It’s like a gift from heaven.”

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The 3-pointer put Tabiona up by 8.

The Tigers resisted Rich’s efforts to rally. The Rebels followed the pace set by Jared Anderson, who totaled 17 points and nine rebounds. Kasin Trenery ended the game with 16 points for Rich.

Meanwhile, Fabrizio was the top scoring Tiger with 17, followed by Young with 12 and Hayes Files with 11.

The Tigers next face the winner of Friday’s late game between Panguitch and Bryce Valley in the championship on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.