Richfield • Panguitch senior Tyce Barney has always dreamed of playing for a state basketball title. His dad, Bobcat coach Clint Barney, said his son started writing about that chance in his journal when he was 2 years old. His brother Trey, a freshman, said the pair have thought about this day for as long as they can remember.
After a nervous 33-29 victory over powerful Rich on Friday in the Class 1A boys’ basketball semifinals at the Sevier Valley Center, the Barneys were more than a little emotional as their long-time dream came true.
"Since the first or second grade, all I’ve ever wanted to do was win a state championship in basketball," said Tyce, who scored 14 points — often while being triple-teamed — and hauled down six rebounds. "We’re not done yet, so it feels good and we are going to enjoy this win today. Tomorrow, we will come ready to win."
Trey offered similar sentiments.
"It’s crazy," he said. "We’ve been talking about it our whole lives, of making it to the championship. This is the only year to play together, so it’s awesome."
As for dad Clint, he said he was happy he could have a small part in the drama.
"I had the thrill this fall of, on the last out of the baseball state game, watching Tyce at short throwing the ball to Trey at first base," he said. "I don’t know if anything could top that, but today did, watching my two sons getting us to a championship basketball game. I am a pretty proud dad."
This turned into one of those classic, nail-biting prep games where every basket was huge. With no shot clock in high school basketball, the contest often resembled a game of chess. Rich held its biggest lead at 10-4 with 2:10 left in the first quarter.
Panguitch’s Keldon Norris hit three free throws and then a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give the Bobcats their first lead at 12-10.
The game’s last tie came at 26-all with 3:41 to play. That’s when Dason Houston stepped up for two straight baskets. Then Mycrae Tebbs hit three key free throws to allow Panguitch to survive a late 3-point basket by Rich.
"We thought of this as David versus Goliath," said Clint Barney. "A lot of the buzz around was that Rich could not be beaten. We’ve got to be really content to not be happy with just that. Tomorrow, we need to come back for more."
Monticello 62, Duchesne 46 • Panguitch better not celebrate too early. The Buckaroos are very, very good, which should make Saturday’s 5 p.m. title game to be a good one. Other than a Duchesne charge midway through the fourth quarter that cut Monticello’s lead to 47-40, the Buckaroos were in control much of this rough, fast-paced game.
Monticello had good balance, with Dillon Maughan scoring 15, Tanner Eardley 14, Sheldon Black 13 and Austin Maloy 10.
As an interesting side note, Eardley is Black’s uncle. Long-time Monticello fan Terry Eardley is the grandfather and father of the two boys.
"Dynamite comes in small packages," said Monticello coach Terry Esplin. "We’re small, but we play well together. It’s small-school ball. We don’t have much depth, so you go with what got you there."
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