Hurricane’s chances of winning its first Class 3A boys’ basketball championship since 1982 hung in the balance when center Boston Gubler stepped to the line with his team leading by one point and 16.5 seconds remaining.
In the tension filled Burns Arena in St. George, the 74 percent free throw shooter stepped up and calmly sunk both shots in a bonus situation to help Hurricane to a 52-49 win over Desert Hills.
The fact the 6-foot-9, 240-pound Gubler hit both those free throws didn’t surprise Hurricane coach Brian Vaifanua.
“The kid put in the hard work, was prepared and came through,” said Vaifanua. “I couldn’t have been more pleased.”
Gubler, who is this year’s Salt Lake Tribune Class 3A most valuable player, is known for his leadership qualities as much as his 13.1-point scoring average and 9.2 rebounds a game. He is the student body president, something Gubler said helped him figure out what to do in key situations on the court.
Asked what he learned from his high school basketball experience, Gubler thought a moment.
“I would have to say that the biggest thing I’ve learned his hard work,” said the student-athlete, who has a 3.98 grade point average and plans to attend BYU after a church mission. “I’m a firm believer that if you want something bad enough and are willing to work hard, you can achieve anything you want. That can be a state championship, something at school or something at work. There is no substitute for hard work.”
Gubler said the state championship run and game amounted to stressful fun.
“I wish everyone could experience something like that,” he said. “It’s a different kind of fun. It’s stressful and you are worried and you don’t know how it’s going to end. You can’t find a feeling like that. It’s such a blast.”