RICHFIELD — Heading into Saturday’s 1A boys basketball championship, everyone involved was expecting a thrill ride.
That’s exactly what they got as the Bryce Valley Mustangs snagged a 36-34 overtime win against Panguitch to claim the state title.
After regulation ended at 32-all, the bonus four minutes began with Bryce Valley’s Westyn Clark weaving his way through the Panguitch defense to make a bucket. On the next possession, Clark fouled out with 2:33 to go.
Time slipped away until Panguitch’s Klyn Fullmer battled his way to the net to score, tying everything up again with 38 seconds to go.
With not a lot of time left, the Mustangs fed the ball to Treyson Roberts, who put it up with three seconds on the clock. It bounced on the rim twice before falling through the net as time expired.
“I knew it was going to hit the back of the rim,” Roberts said. “I was just watching that thing, and when it went through and I saw no time left on the clock, I knew we’d done it.”
Roberts was the game-leading scorer with 15 points, but Panguitch had keyed on him heavily in the second half — holding him to just one point from the foul line.
Bryce Valley set a dominant tone early in the game, as Roberts scored three times from the field and twice from the foul line in the first quarter. Sergio Vasquez also hit a shot to put Bryce Valley up 10-6.
Roberts continued to scorch the net, hitting two more layups, followed by a 3-pointer from teammate Treyson Clark to expand the gap to 17-9 at halftime.
“It was almost too easy off the bat,” said Bryce Valley head coach Gary Syrett, adding he knew Panguitch wasn’t going to take the Mustangs’ early jump-start laying down.
“They are an unreal defensive team,” Syrett said. He said the Panguitch coaching staff is incredible at defense, and it showed in the second half as the Bobcats were able to stifle Roberts from the field.
When they retook the court after halftime, Panguitch outscored Milford 15-7 in the third period — cutting Roberts completely out of his game under the hoop.
The Bobcats saw back-to-back 3-pointers from Paxton Wolfley and Kyler Bennett, followed by a quick steal and dash to the net by Fullmer.
Another downtowner by Fullmer made it a four-point game. Panguitch’s Riley Certonio and Bennett each scored to knot the game at 24-all heading into the final period.
“When they came back at us, my kids got a little tight,” Syrett said. “I was a little worried about our ability to respond down the stretch.”
Fullmer then scored off a foul shot to give Panguitch its first lead of the game with 7:20 to go. He then made a shot from the floor to make it a three-point affair.
Clark cut the lead back to a single point with a shot from under the net for Bryce Valley.
Bennett fired off a 3-pointer, then drew a foul to grow the Panguitch lead to six points with 3:59 to go.
Then Bryce Valley’s Quayden Tebbs drained a 3-pointer, followed by another from Vasquez to knock the game into overtime.
This was the fourth meeting between Region 20 rivals Bryce Valley and Panguitch.
“The tournament is always competitive, but this one was maybe was more difficult than usual,” Syrett said. “There is a lot of parity in 1A right now. I felt like there were seven or eight teams that could have won this. We feel lucky that we were able to come out on top.
“The kids are amazing, they just fight through adversity,” Syrett said. “We’ve had several personal things that have affected our kids, but their families have decided to make it about basketball.”
This is Bryce Valley’s first championship in boys basketball since 2013.
Deseret News 1A all-tournament team
MVP – Treyson Roberts, Bryce Valley
Sergio Vasquez, Bryce Valley
Kyler Bennett, Panguitch
Klyn Fullmer, Panguitch
Westyn Clark, Bryce Valley
Gavin Hoyt, Valley