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Logan • All good shooters can go on streaks, but the one for Ridgeline's Theron Wallantine on Friday night seemed to last all game.
And it was a good thing for the upstart RiverHawks. Wallantine finished with 33 points at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum and sent Ridgeline, in its first varsity season in school history, into the Class 3A boys basketball state championship game with a 64-60 win over Desert Hills.
"Going into halftime, I was so tired I couldn't even run in," said Wallantine, who was 9 of 10 from the floor with 21 points in the first half. "I was so exhausted, but I knew if we could just finish out this game with a 'W' I could rest all night."
From the start, it appeared that no shot was impossible for Wallantine, who scored 13 of his team's 15 first-quarter points.
The 6-foot-3 senior continued to generate points as the RiverHawks caught up to, then pulled away from Desert Hills (21-5) in the last four minutes of the game. Wallantine scored six points in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
"Sometimes his emotion gets the best of him, but we needed all of that tonight," Ridgeline coach Graydon Buchmiller said. "Really, without him in the first half, I don't think we're even having this talk now."
The Thunder got baskets from Braxton Porter and Tucker Peterson to go up 53-51 with 6:18 left, but quickly fell behind by three after free throws from Wallantine, a shot by Dallan Larsen and a score under the bucket by Wallantine. But Desert Hills got a 3-pointer from ace point guard Logan Hokanson to tie the game at 56 with 2:36 remaining.
While Utah-bound Jaxon Brenchley was held under wraps for the most part, it was his younger brother who sent the Thunder (20-4) into the final tailspin. Landon Brenchley, with 2:07 on the clock, swished home a 3-pointer for the lead. Jaxon Brenchley, less than a minute later, hit a pair of free throws for a 61-56 advantage.
"It's huge, that's got to be the biggest shot of his career," said Buchmiller of Landon Brenchley. "That just kept the momentum going in our direction and it made it a lot tougher for them to come back."
The Thunder, who came in as the top seed out of Region 9, hit 12 3-pointers.
"This is just a great group of kids," Desert Hills coach Wade Turley said. "They play hard for each other. They left it all out on the court tonight and I'm proud of them. We talked about our record (after the game) and how hard it is to be Region 9 champs. In our school's history, this is our ninth year tomorrow we've got a chance to get that 22nd win [in the 3rd-place game] and no other team has ever done that."
Ridgeline 64, Desert Hills 60
R Theron Wallantine hit nine of his 10 shots in the first half, scoring 21 points, and finishes with 33.
• Desert Hills gets 17 points from guard Logan Hokanson, while Jacob Mathews adds 14. Thunder senior Braxton Porter scores 11 and grabs seven rebounds.