Two down, one to go.
The forgotten champion from Region 1, Davis bounced a second-straight Region 4 team from the 6A playoffs on Thursday night — this time No. 3 seed Corner Canyon as the seventh-seeded Darts prevailed 63-54 in overtime.
Earlier in the week it eliminated No. 2 seed Pleasant Grove in the quarterfinals, and next up in Saturday’s 6A championship at SLCC is Region 4 champion and top seed Westlake.
If the Darts prevail for their first state title since 2002, they will have gone through the gauntlet to get there.
“You hear about Region 4, and nothing about Region 1 anymore, we took that personal, and we just want some respect on our game and just come prove it every night,” said Davis’ Chance Trujillo, who came up huge on with 20 points and five rebounds.
Davis’ first two games of the season were losses to Pleasant and Corner Canyon, both by double digits. It was early, but still a bit of an indicator that the Darts were a notch of below the Region 4 stalwarts.
The Darts didn’t fret about the losses, and are 21-2 since the 0-2 start. A big reason why has been their tenacity defensively, and that was the case again on Thursday as the Darts held Corner Canyon to nine fewer points in the previous meeting — and that first game didn’t go into overtime either.
“Locking down defensively, we’ve been banking on that the whole season, defense, defense, defense,” said Trujillo.
Davis needed to be sharp defensively because offensively, it kind of stunk up the joint in the first half. It shot just 26 percent in the first half and only scored 14 points, but somehow only trailed 18-14 at the break.
“We’ve been in this position before, it’s kind of like we play good enough defense until our offense gets going and gets a little bit of a rhythm,” said Davis coach Chad Sims.
That offense got going in a big way in the third quarter as Chance Trujillo caught fire making three straight 3-pointers at one point as Davis built a 30-28 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Trjuillo drained another 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter, and thanks to some more defensive stops Davis seemed in control up 38-32 with 3:35 remaining.
Over those final three and a half minutes, both teams executed almost perfectly. Corner Canyon was forced to foul to claw back into the game, which Davis made the most of draining free throw and free throw. It finished the game 24 of 30 from the foul line — with all those makes coming in the second half and overtime.
Every time Davis made free throws though, Corner Canyon responded with points at the other end.
The biggest bucket for Corner Canyon was a 3-ponter by Peyton Call, which trimmed Davis’ lead to 49-46 with 42 seconds remaining. Davis turned the ball over the next possession by stepping out of bounds, and a crazy sequence followed that ultimately sent the game to overtime.
Call had a chance to tie the game with an and-one opportunity with 24 seconds left, but his foul shot rolled off the rim as Davis still led 49-48.
Teammate Carter Welling was there for the offensive rebound and was fouled on his putback attempt, but he only made 1 of 2 free throws, leaving the score tied 49-49.
Despite plenty of time to try and get off a good game-winning shot attempt, Davis’ offense stalled and its corner 3-pointer at the buzzer was well short.
Sims said he wasn’t that worried about his players psyche heading into overtime. He felt they were the better team down the stretch, and believed their poise would carry over despite Corner Canyon snagging the late momentum.
Colby Sims and Rex Sunderland scored key buckets early in overtime to give Davis the lead, and when Corner Canyon started fouling again to play catch up, the Darts kept burying free throws to book a second straight state championship game appearance.
Sunderland finished with a game-high 25 points, including 13 of 17 shooting from the foul line.
Max Toombs led Corner Canyon with 21 points, with Call adding 16.
The Chargers had a difficult time building momentum offensively though, and Sims believes that’s the result of his team’s season-long dedication defensively.
“Our kids have locked in defensively all year, they took the challenge. Corner Canyon is phenomenal, they’ve got players that are so skilled, and I just credit our guys for grinding out until we got a little bit of a rhythm,” said Sims.