RICHFIELD — It happened almost as an accident. It was not in the original plans for the season, but when South Sevier looks back on its championship run, it can thank its trapping, zone defense for a title.
"This half-court trap evolved kind of out of necessity," said coach Scott Hunt. "We were at a tournament in Kanab in the preseason and we got down 19-2, so we switched to the trap and we came all the way back to win.
"I told the kids that night, 'That was a championship effort. If you can do that all year, we can win it all.' "
Hunt proved to be prophetic as the Rams continued to give that type of effort and continued to play the trapping defense all the way to the 2A championship. South Sevier defeated Juab 48-45 Saturday night at the Sevier Valley Center for its first title since 2001.
"I knew we were going to win," said Carson Christensen, the tournament MVP. "We work hard day in and day out. As a senior, this was my last chance and we just weren't going to give up. Our hard work on defense was the key; defense won it for us."
South Sevier had the perfect type of players to run the trap — long, athletic and quick. Christensen, Bryce Forbush, Eric Baker, Nathan Roberts, Spencer Gay and Dustin Bishoff seemed to be all over the court. They were getting deflections and putting a hand in the faces of the shooters.
"I think a big key to our success with the trap is our length," Hunt added. "Our guys are getting in the passing lanes and getting their hands on the ball. It makes it tough on an opponent."
Even though the defense had caused teams problems all year, the coaches actually got together before the tournament and discussed changing things around. In the end, they decided to go with it.
"We rode this horse (the trapping zone) a long time, let's keep on riding it and see how far it takes us," Hunt said.
Juab appeared to be unfazed with the defense and refused to be denied in the first quarter. The team hit some tough jump shots and held a 14-13 lead after one. The second quarter was a different story, though, as the defense executed to perfection. The Rams held Juab to only two second-quarter points in taking control and building a lead it would never relinquish.
"Our defense always carried us through," said Forbush. "Even if the offense wasn't there for a while, we could always rely on our defense."
Kyle Callaway had ideas of his own for Juab. The 6-foot-4 center single-handedly kept the Wasps in the game in the third quarter. He scored all 12 points in the quarter and was everywhere on the court. He made steals, grabbed rebounds and shot lights-out.
Juab closed to within one point at 38-37 with just over four minutes remaining, but on South Sevier's next possession, Roberts dropped in a 3-pointer that hit off the front of the rim, bounced up high off the glass and dropped through. It was that kind of night for the Rams as they hit just enough free throws down the stretch— 7-of-17 in the fourth quarter— to hold off the late rally of Juab.
"This just feels so good," Forbush said. "You work all year for this, and it is finally here. It is like a dream come true."
2A All-Tournament Team
MVP — Carson Christensen, South Sevier
Kyle Callaway, Juab
Kyle Forbush, South Sevier
Garrett Glover, Kanab
Mike May, Juab
Brett Sorensen, South Summit