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High school boys basketball: North Sevier punches first 2A semifinal ticket in a decade

North Sevier beats its second straight higher seed to advance to the 2A semifinals

RICHFIELD — The North Sevier High School boys basketball team is making the best of its first appearance in the state tournament in a decade.

The North Sevier boys defeated Draper APA in a hotly contested 50-48 battle Thursday morning at the Sevier Valley Center.

“This is huge for our program to be able to make it into the semifinals,” said coach Mike Costa, who is in his first year as the head coach of the Wolves.

Draper APA’s Eagles didn’t make it easy as Derek Atkinson led them in the attack through the first period along with Lucas Bacikalo. Atkinson hit two 3-pointers and a shot from the foul line, while Bacikalo made his way up the lane for three field goals in the first eight minutes.

The Wolves responded with a balanced approach, as five different players all scored in the opening quarter, which ended in a 13-all knot.

Atkinson started the next period off with a 3-pointer, while teammates Nicholas Palmer and Bacikalo each banged their way into the paint for field goals.

Meanwhile, North Sevier’s scoring was limited to Burke Mickelsen, who scored three times from underneath to end the first half with Draper APA leading 20-19.

Draper attempted to set a dominant tone when it retook the floor as Cody Berquist nailed a short jump shot, followed by Bacikalo who dropped in a trey and a layup. With 4:16 to go in the third, Draper had the biggest lead so in the game, 30-19.

“We had got a little fancy with our defense,” Costa said. “We went back to our man-to-man, which is our bread and butter.”

The shift worked as North Sevier scored the next six points, with Mickelsen, Ethan Fielding and Brody Butler all nailing shots from the floor.

Atikinson broke up the North Sevier run with a bucket.

That’s when the next part of North Sevier’s strategy kicked in.

“Burke is important to our offense as the big man underneath, but if you have shooters taking shots, they’re going to go in,” Costa said.

Fielding and Darian Johnson both fired off 3-pointers in the last 30 seconds of the quarter to bump North Sevier ahead 31-29.

The momentum shift stuck through the final stanza as the Wolves built up a 10-point lead with 4:45 left in the game.

The Draper APA boys still had plenty of game left in them, as they again closed the gap, ending the game with a 3-pointer by Bergquist at the buzzer. He also drew the foul, and made the bonus shot, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Wolves.

“Now we just need to go out a play hard for the rest of the tournament,” Mickelsen said.

The 2A boys’ state basketball tournament continues through Saturday in Richfield.