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High school boys basketball: No. 1 South Summit, No. 10 Judge Memorial set to face off for 3A state championship

No. 10 Judge Memorial 70, No. 3 Ogden 63 (OT)

Even as the moniker of “Pac-12 After Dark” comes to a likely end, there just might be a space for “3A After Dark.”

The 9:10 p.m. game of the 3A state tournament semifinal was a wild one as No. 10 Judge Memorial weathered a chaotic comeback from No. 3 Ogden and upset its way all the way to the 3A state championship game with a 70-63 win in overtime.

The Bulldogs were firmly in control of the game for three quarters and looked primed to secure a blowout before Ogden embarked on a titanic 26-3 run in in the fourth quarter.

Ogden had gone on a 21-0 run during that span before Judge’s only senior, guard Aayden Saucedo, nailed a shot from midrange to stop the hemorrhaging from Judge Memorial.

Even when Judge crawled its way to overtime, Bulldogs coach Sanjin Kolovrat remained fully convinced his team was just minutes away from an assured title berth.

“Quite honestly, I thought we were going to win,” Kolovrat said. “We just had to slow down and not panic much. Their press just got us out of our stuff.”

It’s times like that when a team can learn a lot about what it really is.

“In the late fourth quarter, a lot of pressure, and all of our team made mistakes,” Saucedo said, “but we just stayed together.

“Some guys went low, some guys went high, but we pulled it together, and that’s ultimately what got us the (win).”

The Bulldogs led by as many as 23 in the second half, capped by an and-1 3-pointer from the corner by junior guard JJ Apathjang before Ogden ran downhill in the fourth.

Ogden’s run wasn’t the product of any one player but a stringing together of individual scoring runs from each of the Tigers’ starters.

It was eerily similar to what Emery had done to Judge in the quarterfinal round when the Bulldogs surrendered a 15-point lead late in the second half.

It’s not coincidental that both were spurred by the fouling out of Apathjang.

“Part of it’s really difficult when you’re coaching a player like Apathjang,” Kolovrat said. “He’s so good and so dynamic that we trust him a lot with foul trouble.

“We might need to make some adjustments there and get him out a little earlier…It’s one of those things where we just gotta learn how to keep a lead.”

Before he fouled out, Apathjang scored a team-high 21 points on 8 of 15 shooting and netted a double-double with 10 rebounds to go with five assists.

Junior guard Deng Deng added a career-high 20 points on 6 of 11 shooting, and Saucedo closed out the game with six points in overtime to finish with 13.

For Ogden, senior guard Stockton Marriott had 14 points on a rough 4 of 16 shooting night while senior Bingham Call led the team with 16 points, 14 of which came in the second half.

Senior Niyol Hauet put in 11 points, and sophomore Jesse Jones added another 10.

Judge Memorial, a storied program that hasn’t seen the title game since 2010, will look to complete a playoff run where it’s been the underdog seed in every round of the tournament.

Nothing would complete that journey quite like taking a shot at the top team in No. 1 South Summit.

“They’ve got size, length and senior leadership,” Kolovrat said. “We’re a very young team, and they’ve obviously played ball together for a while, but we’re up for the challenge.

“We’ve got some pretty good basketball players, too, and we’ll be ready for them tomorrow.”

No. 1 South Summit 68, No. 5 Richfield 56

The season so far can’t have gone much better for Norm Hayter.

In his first year in the head coaching position at South Summit after over a decade away from the court, the former Wasatch Wasps champion coach has the Wildcats bound for the 3A state championship game after they overcame a hostile environment to beat No. 5 Richfield, 68-56.

It’s not lost on Hayter that he inherited a team primed for doing great things. Not many 3A squads have multiple starters over 6-foot-4, but junior Logan Woolstenhulme said Hayter’s “broken record” philosophies of defense, rebounding, and attacking the interior have made the Wildcats into more than they ever could have been without him.

“We know he has a lot of great history,” Woolstenhulme said. “He’s done some amazing things.

“He told us in the beginning of the year that he was going to sound like a broken record and he wasn’t lying, but we believe in him 100%, and we’ll do anything that he says will help us win.”

Defense and rebounding were the clear advantages South Summit was able to capitalize on throughout the contest.

The green Wildcats outrebounded Richfield 26-21, and they shuttered the blue Wildcats on the perimeter, holding them to 3 of 19 from the arc.

The Sevier Valley Center, which nearly shares a parking lot with Richfield’s football stadium, was no easy venue as blue-clad fans packed the majority of the arena, but those are the times when having an unflappable, fundamentally sound coach helps the most.

“We had to play great defense, we had to take care of the ball and we had to rebound,” Hayter said. “If we could defend their 3-point shooters well enough, we knew we had a chance to win.”

Woolstenhulme led all scorers with 27 points on 7 of 10 shooting from the field, and he went 13 of 14 from the free-throw line.

His impressive stat line also included eight rebounds and seven assists as most of South Summit’s offensive motion ran through him.

Senior Bracken Lassche hit a clutch 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter that effectively sealed the game as he scored 18 points, and senior center Gage McKee added 10.

Richfield was led by sophomore guard Jorgen Southwick, who scored 13 points in the second half to finish with 16.

Senior star guar Miles Barnett and junior forward Gage Yardley each had 13 points.

South Summit’s interior dominance was well-respected coming into the tournament. It has often forced opponents to abandon the perimeter almost entirely in efforts to stave off the Wildcats’ efficiency in the paint.

Those who have done so, even if they succeed, has found the same thing Richfield did, that South Summit pounds the glass more so because it can than because it has to.

The green Wildcats shot 2 of 4 from the 3-point line and nailed several shots from midrange as they dissected Richfield over time.

“It’s not so much about their length as it is that they all play well together,” Hayter said. “They’re willing to give up the ball (to each other)…They just work really well together, and when they do, things click, and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it.”

After a competitive first quarter, Richfield took a brief lead, 19-18, before South Summit went on a 9-0 run.

The green Wildcats outscored the blue Wildcats 15-3 over a span just short of ending the first half before a pair of free throws by Richfield stopped the bleeding.

Once again in the second half, a quick pair of buckets from Richfield was answered in kind by an 11-0 run that gave South Summit total control.

For the game, the Wildcats shot over 60% from the field, hitting 25 of 39.

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