Just over one week ago, Davis survived a scare against Layton that almost ended its season in the second round of the 6A basketball tournament. Despite holding a lead for just 26 seconds of that game, the Darts advanced into the quarterfinals.
Fast forward to Saturday afternoon, and you wouldn’t see a team that appeared to be lucky it made it out of the second round, but a team that was hoisting the 6A state championship trophy over its heads after leading for the entirety of the title-clinching game.
With a score of 60-55, the No. 7 seed Darts defeated No. 1 seed Westlake to win their first state championship since 2002.
“It feels fantastic. We knew it’s been a while (since Davis last won), but it’s time to bring one back baby.” — Davis junior Rex Sunderland
“It feels fantastic,” said Davis junior Rex Sunderland, whose last-minute heroics against Layton in the second round saved Davis’ season. “We knew it’s been a while (since Davis last won), but it’s time to bring one back baby.”
Sunderland added he and his teammates were fueled by the fact that it had been 19 years since Davis took home the state title. Sunderland also said that he and his team were fueled by the fact that they received the No. 7 seed, which was perceived as a disrespect to their home region.
“To be honest, our whole group, we’ve been sick of hearing about the Region 4 teams and all that,” said Sunderland. “We’ve had a chip on our shoulder. Everybody’s sleeping on Region 1, and we came out here and proved it.”
That added extrinsic motivation was apparent from the tipoff, as Davis was the much better team to begin the game. The Darts started the contest on a 10-0 run, fueled by hot shooting from senior Chance Trujillo, who finished with a game-high 19 points.
Trujillo hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter and scored 11 of Davis’ first 13 points.
“We knew that if we didn’t come out and punch first, Westlake was going to be on top and we’d be clawing our way back. Getting up a quick lead gave us confidence the rest of the game,” said Trujillo.
Trujillo hit another 3-pointer and Colby Sims added two more to give the Darts six first half 3-pointers, which helped them enjoy an eight-point lead heading into the halftime break.
Trujillo then passed the baton to Sunderland, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half.
Shooting from Will Jensen and driving from Kaleb Furey helped get things going for Westlake, as it cut Davis’ lead to just two towards the start of the fourth quarter. But Davis responded with some buckets of its own and Sunderland hit a 3-pointer with 5:10 in the fourth quarter to quickly extend the Darts’ lead back up to nine.
Davis was able to fight off any remaining Westlake comeback attempts and secure the title that eluded it for so many years.
Sims credits much of his team’s success in the game and in the season to the leadership and performance of his senior class players, led by Trujillo.
“(It’s the) best senior class, to quite honest,” said Sims. “They’ve won at every level growing up, so they get to high school and they kept winning and we were like, ‘Gosh, OK this group might be good.’ And they came through for us.”
Like the girls 6A champion, Fremont, Davis won this year after being defeated in last season’s 6A title game.
“The support (from the Kaysville community) and everything we’ve gone through in the last few years has prepared us for this moment for sure,” said Sims.
When asked to put the championship run in to perspective given how close it was to being cut short against Layton in the second round, Sims could only laugh.
“That’s funny because I think our whole season has been that way,” said Sims after letting out a short burst of laughter. “It’s been about one or two games, one or two possessions that if they don’t go our way, we don’t come out on top. We just made plays when we had to and I’m so happy for them.”