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1A boys' basketball: Panguitch cruises past Valley for another state crown

Published March 4, 2017 10:20 pm

1A boys' basketball • Bobcats won all four of their tourney games by at least 15 points.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Richfield • Those who walk into the Panguitch High gym, perhaps the largest structure in the Garfield County town of about 1,500, are greeted with an impressive sight.

Row after row of championship banners hang from the rafters, collected from as far back as a 1924 boys' basketball title when there was only one classification in Utah sports. There are so many trophies that administrators are running out of room for them.

That problem got a little worse Saturday. Add a 79th title to that legacy.

The Panguitch boys dominated from start to finish to blast Valley 63-39 at the Sevier Valley Center to complete their first boys' title run since 2001.

The school of 133 students has dominated in sports such as boys' and girls' basketball, track, cross country and volleyball over the years, establishing itself as the cream of Utah small-school athletics.

Panguitch coach Clint Barney, whose brother Curtis has established a girls' dynasty at Panguitch, joins Rudolph Church, Val Church, Ted Chidester, Scott Hunt and Arlin Sawyer as mentors with their names on boys' basketball title trophies in a town that remembers its titles.

Barney put together an unselfish team that exemplified teamwork and defense. He joked that the other coaches won the first time they ever played for a title. It took him three trips to the championship to finally win one, and he did it with son Trey as the Bobcats' floor leader.

After losing a heartbreaker in the semifinals a year ago, Barney vowed that it wouldn't be close this year. His players began working in last April to complete their dream.

There were plenty of tears of joy on the bench as the final seconds wound down.

"We won every game by double figures in the state tournament," he said. "We didn't want it to come down to the end."

Jace Eyre led the Bobcats with 21 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal. Acey Orton was 7 for 7 from the field to add 15, and Barney added 10 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.

"We are a good team with a good defense," Eyre said. "We have practiced our rotation defense. That was the big key. I have no words right now."

The game was decided early. The Bobcats went on a 19-2 run to establish a 31-9 lead and never again were threatened seriously.

Valley, a school of 62 students located in Orderville, completed a fine season, finishing second in dominant Region 20 and battling to the state title game.

But despite a 15-point effort from leader Cobe Reck, the Buffaloes did not have the height or talent to compete with their U.S. 89 neighbors to the north, especially on a night when they couldn't buy a basket.


Twitter @tribtomwharton 100

The field-goal percentage for Panguitch sophomore Acey Orton, who made all seven of his shots from the field.


The number of state titles Panguitch has won, making it the king of small-school athletics.






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