The 2A boys basketball finale between Enterprise and San Juan came down to a pair of foul shots, and lessons learned from a father and assistant coach who wasn’t able to be there.
“My dad taught me how to breathe right and calm my mind down,” San Juan senior Jayden Black said. “Just take deep breaths and focus.”
Black did just that, dropping in the final two shots of the game from the foul line with 1.7 seconds to go, giving the San Juan Broncos what they needed to claim the 45-44 win over Enterprise Saturday night at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.
It was San Juan’s first boys basketball title since 1992.
Jayden’s father, Taylor Black, passed away from a heart attack in July. He was also one of the team’s assistant coaches. During the awards presentation, Jayden held up a picture of his father along with the state trophy.
“This is one of the best pictures of my dad that I have,” Jayden said.
He said the picture was taken after a basketball game in Emery.
“We just grew up loving basketball together,” Jayden said. “He taught me everything I know and we just enjoyed every moment together. When I have this on the court with me, it’s like we’re still together.”
Heading into the game, the Enterprise Wolves were considered the underdogs, but they didn’t play like it. After trading the lead back and forth five times in the first period, Enterprise was able to establish a seven-point edge early in the second quarter.
Enterprise sophomore Dax Hunt led an outside attack that included three of his own 3-pointers, including two consecutive in the second stanza. Senior Matthew Ramos also contributed a pair of downtowners.
Enterprise continued to control the game up through the third, when San Juan was finally able to sneak up on them and tie the game twice, thanks to an eight-point run by senior Ladd Ivins.
However, it wasn’t until that final 1.7 seconds that the Broncos were able to jump ahead.
“This was a storybook ending for us,” said Travis Black, head coach of San Juan. “We’ve just been on an emotional rollercoaster this year, and we dedicated the season to Taylor.”
Travis Black said seeing Jayden put in the final two points of the game to win was one of the most amazing experiences the team has had.
“We know Taylor was here with us,” Travis Black said. “Enterprise is a great team with a great coach. We couldn’t have asked for a better competitor.”
The secret to cracking Enterprise’s hold on the game came in defense and rebounds, according to Travis Black.
“Being second in 3A was a tough loss last year,” he said. “We took all that we learned from that last year and applied it. … I’m just so happy for these boys. Coach Grover and I have coached them ever since they were in the third grade.”
“Holy cow, that was the biggest team effort we’ve had all season,” said senior Cooper Black. “We came out here and pulled it together in the second half. I just had to rely on my teammates.”
Cooper is a son of head coach Travis Black.
“He told me before this weekend that we ought to just go finish this off right, and that’s what we did,” Cooper said.
“It was a close one,” said senior Jensen Grover, adding homage to Blanding’s zip code. “It was all heart from 84511.”
Desret News 2A Boys All-Tournament Team
MVP: Jayden Black, San Juan
Ladd Ivins, San Juan
Ryland Randall, Enterprise
Nash Palmer, Enterprise
Jensen Grover, San Juan
Kason Janes, Kanab