Grantsville secured a spot in the Class 3A state basketball tournament with a 52-40 win over Judge Memorial on Wednesday, its second win over the Bulldogs this season.
“I feel good,” Grantsville head coach Bryan Detweiler said. “Getting the playoffs is one thing. It’s all about who’s playing good basketball going into the playoffs, where you can really start to make a run. We’ll build off of this and keep the momentum going.”
The Cowboys held Judge scoreless for more than eight minutes straight during the second half, going on a 14-0 run in what had been a close game until that point.
Cowboy forward Brady Arbon started off the streak with a nifty spin move to get to the basket and make it 40-35, and guard Kevin Roberts made a pair of free throws with 3:19 left to play that gave Grantsville a 52-35 lead.
The two seniors combined to score 24 points in the win.
“We played good basketball,” Detweiler said. “That was a great effort. A great effort for the whole game, too. That was Judge’s best in the first half, then it was our best in the second.”
Grantsville rushed to a 10-2 lead midway through the first quarter, but thanks to a pair of late 3-pointers by Judge freshman guard Dominic Burns, the Cowboys led by only two at the end of the period.
Judge junior guard Mack Tarver led all scorers with 19 points — 14 of which came in the middle two quarters. He hit a 3-pointer with about six minutes to go in the half that gave Judge its first lead of the game at 20-18, and drove through the lane for a layup two minutes later that made it 25-22.
Grantsville held Judge scoreless for the final three minutes of the first half, which ended 28-27.
“(We only gave up) 13 points in the second half,” associate head coach Brandon Pehrson said. “Was it perfect? No. Can it get better? Sure. Are we headed in the right direction? Absolutely.”
Potter led the Cowboys with 15 points, while four players combined for another 13.
Senior guard Jake Hammond was given the nod in his final home game at Grantsville, starting alongside Arbon, Roberts, Potter and senior captain Coy Johnson.
With the win, the Cowboys are guaranteed at least a fourth-place finish in the five-team league, as Judge Memorial is winless with a game left to play.
The Bulldogs (3-17 overall, 0-7 in Region 13) will face first-place Morgan (17-2, 7-0) on Friday. The game will not affect either team’s final league standing.
Summit Academy beat South Summit 78-47 on Wednesday. Should Grantsville (13-9, 3-4) defeat Summit Academy (12-8, 4-3) on Friday, those three teams will have identical 4-4 records and require tiebreakers to determine seeding order for the state tournament.
If Summit Academy wins Friday, the Cowboys will finish in fourth place while South Summit (13-8, 4-4) takes the No. 3 seed.
“It was expected,” Johnson said of Grantsville’s state playoff berth. “But then we went through our past couple weeks where we’ve just been playing bad basketball. So it’s good to see us win.”
Tipoff between the Cowboys and Bears is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Bluffdale on Friday.
“We can’t take Friday off, because it’s all about momentum,” Johnson said. “If we take Friday off and lose momentum, we’ve got to pick it back up in the playoffs, and that’s hard to do.”
Author’s note: Tavin Stucki has covered prep sports in Utah for more than nine years. This story was not subject to the approval of the Grantsville basketball program.