Leading No. 18 seed Mountain View by just one at halftime, second-seeded Springville made an adjustment that paid immediate dividends.
The Red Devils locked down the paint on the defensive end and took over in the third quarter, forcing eight turnovers and scoring on six of those takeaways on their way to a 76-52 victory in the second round of the Class 5A boys basketball tournament.
Springville (19-5) returns to the quarterfinals for the first time since winning it all in 2017. The Red Devils will play Bountiful, an 80-64 winner over Park City in the second round.
“We’re excited,” Springville coach Justin Snell said. “I think more than anybody out there this school understands that state is state. Sometimes luck gives to you and sometimes luck takes it away. We’re just ecstatic to be there and have the opportunity.”
The Red Devils jumped out to a 9-0 lead on a 3-point play by Zach Visentin, but Mountain View battled back. The Bruins, who won in an upset on the road at defending state champion Olympus in the first round, rode the hot hand of Ben Mella. The senior guard made four 3-pointers and scored 16 points in the first half. Mountain View continually slashed into the paint and either scored or found Mella for a jumper.
That would change in the second half.
“We were really trying to concentrate on taking away their baseline drive,” Snell said. “They do a lot of stuff to take advantage of baseline rotation. We thought if we could take it away we could at least create some longer passes or something a touch more uncomfortable than they normally do. It worked.”
Springville defensive ace Payton Murphy had his hands on nearly every pass or penetration into the key by Mountain View in the third quarter and the Red Devils were off and running.
“They had a lot of paint touches so our thing was we couldn’t let them spin,” Murphy said. “They kept spinning. I knew what they were doing so I was ready for it and got steals. That was huge because it starts the fast break and transition and everyone gets going.”
Springville opened the third quarter on a 15-3 run, riding a 3-pointer from Landon Haslem and a 3-point play by Paul Terry to a 45-32 lead with 4:27 to play in the period.
“We talked about making sure when we had the opportunity to stretch the lead from four to eight and from eight to 12 that we had to take advantage because that would take pressure off of us and put a whole lot on them,” Snell said. “It’s one of those things that happens so quick. I looked up and we’re up six, and I look up again and we’re up 12. It’s a vastly different game on both sides of the floor when you hit that double-digit mark.”
Dylan Thomas’ 3-pointer pushed the Springville advantage to 50-37 entering the fourth quarter and the Red Devils remained in control, making 14-17 free throws to pull away.
The Red Devils displayed its usual balance on the offensive end, putting four players in double figures. Austin Mortensen had 15 points, Cooper Riggs 14, Terry 12 and Visentin 12. Murphy added nine off the bench.
Mella paced Mountain View (10-13) with 21 points and Eli Stafford contributed 11.
The Class 5A boys basketball quarterfinals begin Tuesday at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.