In the mind of Utah Valley Community College head coach Duke Reid, the script was set for his Wolverine team in this week's Region 18 basketball tournament. Going into the final weekend of the regular season, UVCC had clinched the right to host the postseason tournament and had all but clinched a share of the regular-season title.
A surprising loss to Snow College halted any hopes of a regular-season title, but it gave UVCC a purpose - revenge - in Thursday night's opening round of tournament play as the host Wolverines earned a repeat contest with the Badgers. "We couldn't have scripted it any better," said Reid prior to the playoffs.Well, coach, your team proved you wrong. Sure, the Wolverines posted a convincing 106-83 victory in the UVCC Activity Center. But not even the script could call for the type of first half posted by UVCC.
Consider the following from the first half of play, which ended with a 62-39 score:
- UVCC shot 23-of-28 from the floor - a blistering 82 percent.
- Three of the five missed FGs were 3-point attempts, with the Wolverines making five of eight trey tries.
- Fresno State-bound Brian Santiago had 12 assists and 10 points, while Chris Koford, another UVCC player also headed for Fresno next year, had 10 points. And all but one player scored at least four points in the first half.
"That was a pretty good display of basketball there in the first half," said Reid in the understatement of the night. "I don't care how we looked after that."
And now, consider Snow College, which had a pretty decent first half itself. But despite 64 percent shooting, the Badgers found themselves down by 23 points at intermission.
"We picked the wrong night to play them," said Snow coach Elliot Anderson. "It wasn't like we played poorly . . . We weren't stinking it up."
In fact, the Badgers stayed even with the Wolverines through the second half,. UVCC got a little sloppy but still managed a more mortal 57 percent shooting from the floor, giving them a 71 percent average for the game.
Santiago finished with 20 points and 15 assists, tops among the six players in double figures. Bernard Williams led Snow with a game-high 24 points, with the Badgers shooting 56 percent from the floor for the game.
Southern Idaho 88, SLCC 81
A tournament spoiler in recent years, SLCC barely missed fulfilling the same role this season against top-seeded CSI. The Bruins jumped out to a 6-0 lead and trailed only by two points with six minutes to play in the game before the Golden Eagles edged out to leads of better than a half-dozen points. CSI's Craig Tyson scored 21 points, while Drew Peterson canned four treys and finished with 25 points for SLCC.
Eastern Utah 91, Ricks College 74
Junsie Cotton connected on six of his nine three-point attempts and finished with 31 points to lead the Golden Eagles. CEU teammate Kris Hill added 19 points and 16 rebounds, while Nathan Reynolds had a beam-best 20 points for the Vikings.
Dixie College 93, North Idaho 81
The Rebels' Walter Outlaw tallied 13 boards and 25 points, the latter coming on 10-of-11 shooting from the floor. Dixie's Rich Thornton added 17 points, while Ethan O'Bryant and Brian Vandehey tossed in 14 each. Tracey Evans paced NIC with 24 points.
SLCC 63, Ricks College 60
Jennifer Brown collected 17 points and nine rebounds to lead the Lady Bruins, while Kamie Siddoway added 12 points and Megan Peck 10 rebounds for SLCC. Camille Woodbury and Becky Wiberg shared team-high scoring honors for Ricks with 16 apiece.
Snow College 72, North Idaho 62
The Badgers prevailed despite shooting 35 percent for the game, thanks to a combined 55-point, 26-rebound effort Heidi Cowan (21 points and 10 rebounds), Sue Shurtliff (18 and 5) and Erin Tanner (16 and 11). Alison Landvatter led NIC with 18 points.