The San Juan Broncos knocked out the number one seed in the 3A boys basketball tournament, while Juab took down Judge Memorial Friday night.
San Juan beat Grantsville in a tight 51-49 ball game.
“We’ve had our eye on them since we lost to them after Christmas break,” said San Juan coach Travis Black.
At that point in the season, neither team was up to full strength, as Grantsville was coming back off a COVID-19-related hiatus, while San Juan was down two starters, according to Black.
“We knew it was going to be a grudge match and that’s exactly what it was,” Black said. “They are a great team and very well coached.”
Grantsville led early in the game, and was up 30-24 at halftime.
That’s when San Juan started reeling them in. Jace Palmer fired off a 3-pointer for the Broncos that pulled them to within two points and San Juan then took its first lead of the half when Cooper Black drew a foul on a shot under the hoop. He drained the extra point, and San Juan was up 33-32.
Grantsville wasn’t having it and fed the ball to Davin Ekins, who ended the game with 12 points. Noah Mouritsen added another shot to Grantsville’s total. A pair of foul shots from Carter Killian gave the Cowboys a 40-37 edge heading into the final stanza.
During the final period, Cooper dropped in four free throws for San Juan. He finished the night as the game-high scoring player with 16 points.
Cooper also hit a 3-pointer with 57.6 seconds left in the game that pulled San Juan to within one point.
Grover scored the go-ahead shot with 22 seconds to go.
Foul shooting became key in the final seconds. The Cowboys lost an opportunity at the line, but San Juan’s Ladd Ivins was able to drop one more point from the line with 12.9 seconds to go, icing the win.
The win gives San Juan its first trip to the boys basketball championship since 1999. The last time the Broncos won it was in 1992.
Facing off against San Juan will be Juab. The Wasps beat Judge 58-52 during the late game Friday night.
“They’re a really good team with a lot of offensive weapons,” said Juab coach Kamron Write. “I felt like we did a great job defensively.”
The game remained close throughout the first half, which ended with Juab up by two points.
In the third quarter Dawson Olsen went on a 10-point scoring spree for the Wasps. He and Ty Allred were fed the ball under the hoop, and when shots didn’t open up, they’d send the ball to each other.
“Ty and Dawson have done that all year,” Write said. “You’d think teams would have to zone us, but they can’t because those two pass so well together.”
Allred led the Wasps with 21 points, while Olsen had 19. Brendan Allred contributed 13 points to Juab’s effort.
Heading into the final stanza, Juab had an 11-point lead, but Judge Memorial wasn’t finished.
The Bulldogs battled through the final stanza, where Dom Burns scored 12 of his 27 points on the night. His last points from the field were off a steal he dropped in to tie the game with 3:23 left to go.
Juab then buckled down, as Allred drove to the hoop for four more points, followed quickly by a 3-pointer from Allred with 43 seconds left on the clock.
“The kids stepped up and we made just enough plays down the stretch to get the job done,” Write said.
The last championship for Juab’s boys was in 1960, while the last time they made it to the championship game was in 2006.
“We’re two teams from rural Utah,” Write said. “We’re just going to go at it and have some fun.”
The game is set for 6:45 p.m. Saturday at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.