The Wasps of Juab High School delivered a historic win Saturday night as they captured the school’s first boys basketball state crown since 1960.
Juab’s boys withstood a rally attempt by San Juan in the second half of Saturday night’s championship game to secure a 54-50 win.
“It’s a super senior bunch,” said Juab coach Kamron Wright, now in his fourth year coaching the Wasps. “We’ve been really close before, but just weren’t able to get it done.”
Wright said his core group of six seniors help lead the team throughout the season to cap off the title.
“They just know how to win,” Wright said. “That senior bunch just pulled us through. I just can’t say enough about them.”
San Juan started things off as Jace Palmer raced to the paint for the first bucket of the night. Juab then went on a six-point run.
Palmer hit another inside shot and two more from the foul line to knot the game at 6-all with 4:25 to go in the first period.
That’s when Juab’s Brendon Allred sank his first of three 3-pointers to reclaim the lead.
Juab would hold onto the lead until the opening play of the fourth quarter, when San Juan’s Jensen Grover drained a shot from downtown to knot the game at 39-all with 7:33 left to play.
That’s when Brendon went to the line to reclaim the lead with a charity shot. Teammate Jakob Bailey then rolled the ball into the hoop from the side to widen the gap to three.
“They went back to what got them here and they executed and did the right things, and it paid off for them,” Wright said.
“They just know how to win,” Wright said. “That senior bunch just pulled us through. I just can’t say enough about them.” — Juab coach Kameron Wright
San Juan would close to within one point on each of its next three turns with the ball, but Juab’s boys responded in kind. Ty Allred scored seven of his total 16 points in the final stanza for Juab.
Finally, a one-two punch of Ty snagging a rebound putting it back in for a score, followed immediately by a pair of foul shots from Bailey gave the Wasps some breathing room, bringing the score to 52-47 with 26.7 seconds left on the clock.
“We just had to keep working together and rebounding,” Bailey said. “We all just believed in each other and knew we could do it.”
San Juan’s Jayden Black nailed a shot from beyond the arc to close the gap to just two points with 12 seconds to go. All of the sudden, foul shooting was going to be really important.
“Foul shots have been a problem for us all year, but for the last couple of games we’ve been really good down the stretch and when we had to have one, we’ve got it,” Wright said.
Ty and Brendon each went the line in the final seconds of the game, and both of them added one point to the total the cement the win.
“I just focused up and believed in myself and knew that my team believed in me too,” said Brendon, the senior who made the final shot of the game. “I love them, and I’m going to miss them.”
“Anything, especially in a year like this, that brings the community out like this is a good,” Wright said. “We’ve been fortunate to have three sports [football, wrestling and now basketball] earn trophies this year. This has been a great year for Juab basketball and Juab sports in general.”
Deseret News all-tournament team
MVP — Brendon Allred, Juab
Ty Allred, Juab
Jakob Bailey, Juab
Nathan Gover, San Juan
Jace Palmer, San Juan
Jensen Grover, San Juan