TAYLORSVILLE — The latest chapter in the South Sevier-Richfield rivalry had the usual bragging rights on the line, but something even greater awaited the winner: a trip to the 3A championship game.
“We just need to stay confident and not cocky. That’s what our coach always says. Play our game. If we do our best, I think we’ll be good.” — South Sevier guard Kenzie Jones
“It’s crazy. When we play them down there, the gym is so full that people have to stand. We have a pretty big gym — all the seats above are filled, everyone is cheering loud. There’s usually fights after,” South Sevier senior guard Kenzie Jones said. “It’s really lots of fun. It gets us ready for state too.”
The Rams emerged victorious in the rivalry and advanced to the 3A championship game for the first time since 2008, beating the Wildcats 49-36.
“I was feeling confident. I’ve dreamt about this ever since I was little, watching my brothers play Richfield in the tournament. I’ve been practicing hard for it. I was excited,” said Jones, who has known some of the Richfield players since she was little.
Jones led the Rams, scoring 18 points, grabbing five rebounds, dishing out two assists and tallying one steal. Brookell Brindley added 11 points and Leah Torgerson chipped in nine. For Richfield, Rebecca Poulsen scored 12.
South Sevier 49, Richfield 36
South Sevier: Kenzie Jones, 18
Richfield: Rebecca Poulsen, 12
South Sevier looked poised to run away with a semifinal win after opening the contest to a 19-4 lead, but Richfield battled back to close the gap to 33-29 at the end of the third period. The Rams built their lead back up to seven points, but a 3-pointer from Poulsen made it a four-point game. South Sevier responded with a 4-0 run with a basket from Jones and two free throws by Brindley. Passion Reitz for the Wildcats scored to make it 42-36 with three minutes remaining, but those would be the final Richfield points of the night. Brindley capped the night with an emphatic and-one that sent South Sevier’s bench into a frenzy.
“We’ve just been practicing a lot. We knew their scorers, so we just knew that we had to talk. It was hard to talk because it was loud in there, but we were yelling and screaming and just knew where we had stop them,” Jones said of the team’s defense in the final minutes.
South Sevier will take on the winner of the Judge Memorial-Grantsville game and will try and win its first state championship since 2008.
“We just need to stay confident and not cocky. That’s what our coach always says. Play our game. If we do our best, I think we’ll be good,” Jones said.