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High school boys basketball: Enterprise has the mental toughness to upset top-ranked Layton Christian

RICHFIELD — The Enterprise Wolves knew they faced a tough task if they wanted to upset the state’s top-ranked 2A team.

“We knew we had to play together as a team on that one,” said Enterprise head coach Larry Shurtliff after the unranked Wolves defeated the No. 1 ranked Eagles 55-46 in Thursday’s 2A quarterfinals at the Sevier Valley Center. “Layton Christian is a great team. They’ve proved it all season long. And we knew we had to play one of our better games, and we did. We went out and executed and did the things we needed to do.”

The victory came down, as it often does, to the smallest components of the game — a timely steal, a great pass and clutch free-throw shooting.

“Fortunately our shots were falling on the foul line a little bit,” Shurtliff said. “It takes a little bit of luck. These boys have been playing well all season long.”

The Wolves started fast and stayed with or ahead of the Eagles the entire game. They jumped out to a 12-8 lead, but the Eagles battled back, making it a one-point game at halftime with Enterprise leading Layton Christian 20-19.

The game could have belonged to either team, but the Wolves’ free-throw shooting was the difference in the game. The Wolves shot 27 free throws and made 22 of them. Layton Christian, on the other hand, only shot 16, of which it made 12.

Travis Dougherty led the Wolves with 14 points and five rebounds, and he was 6-of-6 from the foul line. Teammate Isaac Wallin added 12 points, including three 3-point shots. Both Koden Hunt and Ricky Ramos scored eight points and had five assists between them.

The Eagles were led by Taylan Barrett, who scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Gerardo Munoz added nine points, while Igor Torres finished with eight points and four rebounds.

“Give Layton Christian a lot of credit,” Shurtliff said. “They have some superb athletes and they’re well-coached. Bobby Porter had them ready to go. Some of their shots didn’t fall, some of ours did. So it was a wonderful thing.”

Shurtliff said it was the contributions from each player throughout the game that made the difference.

“I was really pleased with everybody who played on our team,” he said. “Isaac Wallin, Ricky Ramos and I thought we had great bench play. We got a lot of good minutes, and we had some people in foul trouble.”

He said the Eagles’ athleticism was the squad’s toughest challenge.

“They’re physical and they can get to the rim,” he said. “We were just trying to help ball-side and keep them from the rim. That didn’t work a lot of times. They made it to the rim. They’re athletic, and we tried to limit them to one and out. Sometimes that worked, sometimes it didn’t.”

He said the core of the Wolves’ team played in last year’s state championship game, losing to Wasatch Academy.

“They know the mental toughness that it takes,” Shurtliff said. “I thought we played really well and we played team ball. We did what we needed to do. The mentality was there.”

The Wolves will face Manti in the 2A semifinals Friday at 9:10 p.m. at the Sevier Valley Center.

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