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4A boys' basketball: Springville smothers Hillcrest to reach title game

Published March 3, 2017 11:01 pm

4A boys' basketball • The Red Devils last won state title in 1958.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ogden • Sock hops were popular the last time Springville celebrated a boys' basketball state championship.

Well, the Red Devils are one step away from matching that feat after they beat Hillcrest 57-45 in Friday's Class 4A semifinal.

"I think it's awesome. We've had great teams in the past, in the recent past," said Red Devils senior post Andrew Slack, who scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. "But this team, we've been together for a long time and know each other real well. We play great defense, and I think that's where we are."

Springville (20-5) regularly has held opponents in the 40- to 50-point range. An opponent hasn't topped the 60-point mark against the Red Devils since mid-December.

"We had a hard time finding ways to score," said Hillcrest coach Sam Richins, whose team held its last lead early in the third quarter. "They're a great defensive team, but we had a great run."

Springville trailed 25-20 in the third quarter when it scored 11 consecutive points, sparking a 14-2 run. Senior Seth Mortensen, who hadn't scored to that point, kicked off the run with a 3-pointer.

Six different Red Devils contributed points during the run to give Springville a 34-27 lead with 15 seconds left in the third.

Josh Elison led Springville with 16 points, while Bennett Hullinger, who had the overtime game-winner against Woods Cross in the quarterfinal round, had 15 points.

Hillcrest's Karris Davis scored 11, but the Huskies were hurt by the absence of post John Villanueva down the stretch. Villanueva finished with nine points but fouled out with 6:11 remaining.

"The coaches and I were trying to decide who they were most like in our region," Springville coach Justin Snell said about Hillcrest. "The consensus is that they were most like us. They've got a big guy, they're not afraid to defend."

Hillcrest still was in position to challenge, even after Villanueva's departure. The Huskies only were down 36-33 after a putback bucket from Davis, but they suddenly saw the gap go from three to 10 in about 20 seconds.

A driving layup by Hullinger was followed by a flagrant foul on Hillcrest with 5:16 remaining. Elison made both free throws then drained a 3-pointer from the corner after Springville retained possession for a 43-33 score with 4:57 left.

"That wasn't ideal," Richins said.

Springville hasn't won a basketball championship since 1958 and will get its chance against Olympus at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The Red Devils' other three titles on the hardwood came in 1917, 1923 and 1952.

"It's been a very long time," Snell said. "It's great for these kids. They've worked a very long time, and they deserve every second of it." —

Springville 57, Hillcrest 45

R Springville uses a 14-2 run in the second half to snare control.

• Springville will try to win its first hoops title in 49 years.

• Karris Davis leads Hillcrest with 11 points and six rebounds.






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