Richfield • Riley Lyman emerged from the locker room moments after the joyous screams emanating from it finally died down. Her voice wavered slightly at the prospect of the following day, when she and her Enterprise teammates would step on the court to play for a state title.
The Wolves had just bashed and bruised their way to a 38-18 win over Gunnison in Friday’s girls’ Class 2A state semifinals.
O Enterprise overcomes slow start to advance to state title game.
» The Wolves hold the Bulldogs to single-digit points in each quarter
Lyman paused for a moment and reflected back to the end of the game. The Wolves had been in the double-bonus and had begun icing the game with free throws. Each one made the win more certain — and made the doubters’ skepticism more meaningless.
"It just started to sink in that this was it," said Lyman, who had a game-high 12 points. "It’s still surreal, so weird to think that. No one thought we were going to get here. It just feels so great."
The Wolves entered the tournament as Region 13’s No. 3 seed. They started their run by eking out a 28-27 win over North Summit, which had lost just a handful of games all season. Next, they overpowered No. 1-seeded Emery, proving they were for real.
"We knew our ability and we knew what we could do if we worked together as a team," Lyman said. "We had nothing to lose."
Then on Friday, the Wolves were physically dominant, playing like a team with a trip to the title game on the line. They seldom played crisp — scoring four points in the first quarter, for instance. But Enterprise’s athleticism frustrated Gunnison, which was unable to deal with the Wolves’ athleticism and length.
The Wolves forced tough shots and flew around the court, taking advantage of the Bulldogs’ missed opportunities.
"I think it was our hustle that was the difference," Lyman said. "We started going after a lot of balls and didn’t give up anything easy."
The Bulldogs trailed by 12 but still had a chance going into the fourth quarter. Wolves’ coach Lance Jones said he still felt uneasy about the outcome.
That mentality emerged in the play of his team, which finally broke open the game and buried the Bulldogs.
"We were just thinking we needed to keep our heads in the game," Lyman said. "Anything is possible. They could have gotten back in the game, so we had to keep going hard."
North Sevier 48, South Sevier 34 • Morgan Johnson had 15 points and nine rebounds to lead the Wolves over the Rams. The Wolves’ defense held the Rams to just 11 first-half points.
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