Ogden • After the celebration on the court was over and the Bear River basketball team had greeted its student section in a jumble of elation, Wade Miller strode off the court and into the dull light of the tunnel in the bowels of the Dee Events Center.
Miller turned back and took one last glance out onto the court. He searched the stands for his family and pointed to them, unleashing a yell. The next time he will be here, on this floor, it will be to play for a state title.
The senior star guard's 25 points highlighted Bear River's 83-58 throttling of Snow Canyon in the Class 3A semifinals Friday evening. Miller now will get the opportunity to end his superlative career the way he always imagined.
"We're here now, and this is our time to go out and show what we can do," Miller said. "We've done it so far, and we just need to do it one more time."
The Bears showed their offensive firepower from the beginning of the game. Miller had a stretch of three consecutive 3-pointers in the first quarter, and the Warriors were unable to keep up with the Bears' aggressive style of play.
"I don't think [Snow Canyon's] ever seen a team push like that," Miller said. "I think it was key to come out like that and rebound and push, and then the atmosphere there's nothing like state basketball."
The Bears had built a 16-point lead by halftime. There was no looking back. They kept pushing the ball up the court and kept scoring.
Miller explained after the game that the Bears had come too far to let a large lead slip away. There was no talk of letting up or pumping the brakes.
"A 15-point lead can be erased like that," Miller said. "There's no relaxing."
For Miller, the win was reward for an outstanding career that previously had lacked playoff success. The Bears won only one game during his freshman season, and though the Bears made the postseason in each of the last two seasons, they hadn't won a playoff game.
But in tunnel underneath the Dee Events Center stands, Miller basked in the afterglow of a run deep into the state tournament.
"I think we just kind of hit the right spark at the right time," Miller said. "We didn't like that we went in in third place. ... This is the right time."