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1A girls basketball: State semifinals will be a Region 20 battle

RICHFIELD — Region 20 proved to be the best region in the state at the 1A girls state tournament on Thursday night as all four teams from that region advanced to the state semifinals.

The schedule for tonight's two semifinal games will be as follows:

Piute vs. Bryce Valley, 6 p.m., Sevier Valley Center

Panguitch vs. Valley, 7:30 p.m., Sevier Valley Center

Bryce Valley Mustangs

The Mustangs will play in their second consecutive semifinals game against Piute tonight. Last year's improbable run to the championship game has fueled Bryce Valley's season and has helped it continue its success in the postseason. The Mustangs won their first-round game over Tintic 35-27 on Wednesday. Jailine Vasquez led Bryce Valley with eight points in the win. The Mustangs had a tough opponent in the quarterfinals on Thursday night in the Monticello Buckaroos. The Mustangs were able to win three quarters and beat Monticello 33-24 to push them into the semifinals to play Piute. Danielle Brinkerhoff scored 11 of the 33 points vs. the Buckaroos.

Piute Thunderirds

The Thunderbirds came into the state tournament the No. 2 seed out of Region 20. They blew past Wendover 55-34 in the first round on Wednesday. Shaylee Gleave led the T-birds to victory behind her 18 points. Piute met up with the Duchesne Eagles in the quarterfinals Thursday night. The T-birds jumped out to a 15-5 lead and despite an Eagles run, came out on top 65-53. Gleave's 22 and Macey Dalton's 19 points pushed Piute into the state semifinals where it will meet Bryce Valley. Piute won all three previous games against the Mustangs, including an 18-point win in the Region 20 tournament. It will play at 6 p.m. in an effort to get to its second championship game in two years.

Valley Buffaloes

The Buffaloes from Valley High School are in the state semifinals for the first time since 2004. On Feb. 20, 2004, Valley lost to Panguitch 55-50 in the state semifinals. Eleven years later, it is in the semifinals again. Valley's run began on Wednesday night as it knocked off Region 18's No. 1 St. Joseph. The Buffaloes beat the Jayhawks 44-40 in overtime behind Heather Roundy's 17 points. Valley carried the momentum from the win over St. Joseph into the quarterfinal game against the Tabiona Tigers. It jumped out to a 20-8 lead at the half and then ran away with the game, downing the Tigers 45-19. Roundy led the Buffaloes with 18 points, while Nicole and Brooke Heaton combied for 20. Valley advances to play Panguitch Friday night at 7:30.

Panguitch Bobcats

The defending 1A state champs come into tonight's semifinals winners of 52 straight. Panguitch has beaten its opponents this season by an average of 43 points and by 60 points in the state tournament. The Bobcats are clearly the favorite to win the title again, and they are looking to glide into their second straight championship game. The Bobcats beat ICS 87-10 in the opening round behind Darri Frandsen's 19 points. In Thursday's quarterfinal against Rich, Panguitch jumped out to a 37-11 halftime lead en route to a 75-32 blowout. Panguitch will play Valley in the semifinals Friday night at the Sevier Valley Center. The Bobcats beat the Buffaloes in the previous three meetings by an average of 44 points.

Clint Sorensen graduated from Valley High School in Orderville Utah. You can contact him by email: uncle.bball21@gmail.com