Faced with protecting a once-sizable lead, Chris Kitchen gathered his Springville Red Devils and instructed his players on how they’d emerge victorious.
No dumb mistakes.
And make Judge Memorial take a bad shot.
The Red Devils faced the prospect of going into overtime or even losing up two over the Bulldogs with 22 seconds remaining in Monday afternoon’s Class 4A first-round playoff game. But Springville defended down to the sounding of the horn, forcing Judge to take a frantic last-second shot, which came up short.
“Give them props,” Springville’s Max Schreiner said. “They gave us a run for our money. It was good to hear the buzzer go off.”
The instructions Kitchen gave worked. Springville beat Judge Memorial 61-59 and moved on to face No. 1 seed Roy in Wednesday’s 4A quarterfinal. The Red Devils were led by Max Terry (17 points), Schreiner (16 points) and Rhett Clark (11 points, 11 rebounds).
“We’ve been in dogfights, so we’ve been kind of used to it,” Kitchen said. “We knew Judge was a very good team.”
Kitchen said he knew the game would come down to extra rebounds and free-throw shooting, and Springville came up with timely rebounds on both ends of the floor and hit 23 of 30 free throws. Guard Max Terry hit 15 of 17 free throws and scored just one field goal.
“When you get to the state tournament,” Kitchen said, “it’s just about survive and advance.”
While Springville weathered a storm from Judge’s Ryan Pauley (25 points) and Kaden Elliss (16 points), Clark and forward Ben Johnson (eight points, nine rebounds) came up with several key offensive rebounds and blocked shots throughout the game including a few in the final two minutes of the down-to-the-wire finish.
Kitchen said Springville’s all-around versatility this season makes them a threat.
“On any given night, we’ve got guys who can go out and do what they did tonight,” he said.
Now the focus shifts to Roy and the No. 1 seed Royals. The status of suspended star Brekkott Chapman remains up in the air, but Kitchen and the Red Devils know their opponent well. The Royals eliminated Springville in the first round of the state tournament a year ago and faced them this preseason.
“I have to go watch some film,” Kitchen said with a laugh.
Springville 61, Judge 59
• Springville survives and defends during Judge’s final 22-second possession that could have tied and sent the game into overtime or won.
• Red Devils has three players in double figures, including forward Rhett Clark’s double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
• Judge star Ryan Pauley had 25 points, while Kaden Elliss added 16.