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Piute and North Summit will battle it out for the state 1A basketball championship today at the Centrum. The Thunderbirds edged a gallant Valley Buffalo team, 71-67, to win the first semifinal while North Summit held off a Bryce Valley charge at the end to win, 55-51.

The Thunderbirds under the tutelage of coach Kennedy Sylvester played for the title a year ago only to lose to Green River, 80-66. North Summit goes after the state title after winning the 1A football championship last fall.Coach Rick Harrison will try to become one of those chosen few to coach a team to both a state football and state basketball title in the same season.

It looks like a good matchup with Klyn Gleave and Lee Robinson gunning from the perimeter for Piute and the rock and sock offense of Brandon Jones and company inside for the Braves.

Piute 71, Valley 67

The T-Birds got out to an early lead only to watch Valley come back to make it close, 27-26 at halftime. Tyler Torgerson and Brandon Sylvester gave Piute some much needed inside punch to go with good guard play of Gleave and Robinson. Robinson held scoreless in the first half, exploded for 12 second half points.

Wes Troy, Jeremy Chamberlain combined to lead Valley back within two, 67-65, with only 33 seconds to play in this semifinal. But Piute's Gleave hit two free throws to win it for the T-Birds. Sylvester had a good game, scoring 19 for Piute. Torgerson had 18, Gleave 17 and Robinson 12. For Valley, Troy had 24 points. Chamberlain added 16 and Jeff Cox 13.

North Summit 55, Bryce Valley 51

The victory for North Summit did not come easy. Bryce Valley held a slight lead in a low-scoring first half before North Summit edged ahead, 25-24 at halftime. Brandon Jones led a third-quarter charge for the Braves but it was the team defense of North Summit that held Bryce Valley to only five third quarter points that changed the game.

An aggressive 1-3-1 defense stymied the Bryce Valley offense time and again. Jones scored 13 of his team's game-high 17 in the second half with nifty moves in the paint. Lance Pace added 14 from the guard line. But it was a pass from Jones to Jim Garfield for an easy score with the teams tied at 51-51 that gave North Summit the lead.

Derrick Clark hit three treys on his way to 19 points for Bryce Valley while Mike Ahlstrom and Bryant Shakespear each had 10.

Consolation games

In consolation play, Milford defeated Duchesne, 70-57, with Todd Puffer getting 22 for Milford and Henry Hopkins 19 for Duchesen; Wayne defeated Monticello, 67-63, as Kade Morrell had 24 for Wayne and Adam Bronson 23 for Monticello; Rowland Hall topped Mount Vernon, 86-48, with Adrian Larson getting 15 and Jim Crockett 14 for Rowland Hall. Pablo Rivera had 17 for Mount Vernon. In the other consolation game, Dugway defeated Intermountain Christian 72-54 with Jon Hoody scoring 20 for Dugway. Rob Matlack had 19 for Intermountain Christian.