Monday , February 19, 2018 - 4:36 PM
TAYLORSVILLE — The Springville Red Devils, with all of their five wins, might be the biggest surprise of the 5A girls basketball state tournament.
Though with the events that transpired in the previous game — No. 4 seed Box Elder upsetting No. 1 seed Skyridge — maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise to see that March Madness started early.
In a big upset, fourth-seeded Springville (5-18) took down Region 5 co-champion Roy 42-32 in the first round of the 5A girls basketball state tournament Monday at Salt Lake Community College.
“We knew that (Roy’s) Josie Williams is just an incredible post player, and we had to just battle, battle, battle,” Springville coach Camie Oakey said. “That didn’t start with Josie, that started with all their guards. And so our guard pressure brought the energy and brought the change. We just executed perfectly what we wanted to do.”
Springville had to win its last game of the year to make the playoffs. They look pretty pumped about the 1st round upset pic.twitter.com/6G1VQDncyQ— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) February 19, 2018
If Springville’s defensive performance looked similar to what Woods Cross engineered last week to beat Roy, that’s because it was. The Red Devils pressed the Royals’ guards the entire game, forced 24 turnovers and never allowed Roy (15-6) to get comfortable.
It didn’t necessarily negate the Royals’ inside advantage with Williams, who registered her 15th double-double of the season with 23 points and 11 rebounds, but it drew her out of the key and limited a lot of the inside-out play that goes through the Utah Valley University-bound center.
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“We knew coming into the season that defense would be the thing that got us to the next level,” said Oakey, who played college basketball at Utah from 2003-07 during the time that Roy head coach Carolyn DeHoff was an assistant coach there.
Roy made a run in the fourth quarter, trimming a 31-20 deficit at the end of the third to 33-28, but Springville’s defense kept swarming. The Red Devils made two straight steals to turn what could’ve been a one-possession game into a 37-28 lead.
Roy beat Springville by 11 at home in December, but Oakey says the Red Devils are a different team now, one with a March Madness-like wind in its sails. Breanna Eves led Springville with 11 points and six steals.
It was a disappointing end to the season for Roy, which won its most games (15) since at least 2006-07, as far back as records are kept online, and won a share of the Region 5 championship.
Despite the loss, DeHoff didn’t want the team, which graduates nine seniors, including all of its starters, to lose sight of what it had accomplished this year.
“I believe (the seniors) laid the foundation for the younger kids below them that are going to have to learn a lot because it’s going to start all over again,” DeHoff said. “But I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve built from a culture standpoint that we’re trying to get done.”
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