Taylorsville • When Davis fell in the last game of the Class 6A basketball season a year ago, guard Chance Trujillo made a promise to his coach.
“Chance told us last year at the state championship that we were coming back,” Darts coach Chad Sims said. “He made a promise. I didn’t know if I believed it at first, but he came through on his promise.”
Due in large part to Trujillo’s hot shooting, along with that of fellow guard Colby Sims, at the start of the boys 6A title game on Saturday, the promise was not only fulfilled but exceeded as the Davis beat Westlake 60-55.
It was Davis High’s first boys basketball championship since 2002.
On Feb. 29, 2020, before any major pandemic restrictions were in place, Davis lost to Fremont in front of a large group of visitors that had trekked south to the Huntsman Center at the University of Utah. This time, with restrictions starting to ease, the venue was the smaller Salt Lake Community College arena in Taylorsville.
“I told my coach, ‘We’re gonna be back here. My boys are gonna work and we’re gonna be back in this position,” recalled Trujillo of his comments a year ago.
Davis (22-4) got its first eight points from Trujillo, via two 3-pointers and another bucket on a feed from Rex Sunderland.
Westlake (21-4), seeking the school’s first state title in any sport, struggled through the first half of the opening quarter — and the first half of the second period as well.
It took the Thunder almost four minutes to break the ice, through a three-point play by Noah Madsen, to make the score 10-3. Starting the second quarter with an 18-10 advantage, Davis pushed that margin up to 13 with baskets from Sims and Sunderland as Westlake went the first 3:49 of that stanza without scoring.
“The whole tournament we came out a little flat, get down in the first half, first quarter,” Trujillo said. “And, this game, we knew if we didn’t come out and punch first, that Westlake was going to be on top and we’d be clawing our way back. So, just getting up a quick lead gave us confidence the rest of the game.”
But the Thunder, forced to claw back, did just that through persistent backcourt pressure and steals. Led by 18 points from Kaleb Furey and 16 by Will Jensen, Westlake chopped the margin down to three with 10 seconds left before intermission — before Trujillo scored on an inbounds play drawn up with :01 on the clock.
Still, when Jensen canned a trey to begin the second half, the score was now 42-40.
Davis quickly rebounded to register an 8-1 run and regain momentum. That streak was capped by a big baseline 3-pointer by Sunderland with 5:07 left in the third for a 50-41 lead.
“Dude, I’m at a loss for words right now. The emotion is crazy. There’s no better feeling, man,” said Sunderland, who finished with 14 points. “We knew it was going to be a dogfight the whole game. They (the Thunder) play hard. You know, they’re up in us the whole second half, but we just played our game.”
Although the Darts did give up their fair share of turnovers — Westlake was credited with 11 steals — Davis did it’s job handling the ball toward the end of the game. A semi-stall, four-corners style offense resulted in a minute coming off the board — and ended with a bucket by Henry Ihrig with 2:32 left in the game.
That made the score 54-45 and the Darts stayed away from serious trouble the rest of the way.
Trujillo finished with 19 points to lead the champs, while Sims added 14.
Like Trujillo, Sunderland’s memory of falling short a year wasn’t far away.
“I owe to those guys, man. They deserved it last year,” Sunderland said. “It’s just always fueled me this year. We had to get one for them.”
“That senior class, to be honest, Chance and Austin (Frasure) and Ben (Haggard) and Spencer (Ferguson) — they’ve won at every level,” said Sims of his four-player senior class. “When they were all growing up, they always won. In high school, they kept winning. We like, ‘Gosh, this group might be good.’”