There is a new power emerging in Region 8 and it’s the Springville Red Devils.
Maple Mountain had the flashy 13-1 start and moved its way up the Class 5A RPI rankings, but the Golden Eagles are now trying to hold together what was once such a promising season.
Springville routed Maple Mountain 54-36 on Friday to move to 7-0 in Region 8 and 13-3 overall. The Red Devils leading scorer, 6-foot-9 Zach Visentin, was held to a season-low six points. But the Springville defense swarmed all over the Golden Eagles, holding the visitors to single-digits in three of the four quarters and allowing just nine total field goals.
“I like that the kids are buying in on the defensive side,” Springville coach Justin Snell said. “In order for us to have the opportunity to finish where we’d like to be, we’ve got to play some really good defense and I felt like tonight we definitely did.”
Maple Mountain (5-2, 13-3) is still reeling from the bad news this week when four players were removed from the team and suspended from school for a week. The Golden Eagles, who won their division at the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas in December, had won 11 straight games before falling to Salem Hills on Tuesday.
Springville jumped out to a 13-3 lead in the first quarter but Maple Mountain’s Owen Blakey tossed in a 3-pointer to beat the buzzer to cut the Red Devils lead to 13-9 after one. Springville stretched the lead to 28-16 at halftime and had a 17-point advantage, 35-18, when Visentin scored twice inside in the third quarter.
One of the key factors for the Red Devils was the all-around play from senior Payton Murphy. A highlight was one particular play to end the third quarter. Dylan Thomas pulled down a defensive rebound and whipped the ball to a leaping Murphy near midcourt. Before his feet touched the floor, Murphy threaded a perfect pass to Tyler Biddison for a layup and a 39-24 lead.
“Payton is fantastic,” Snell said. “He’s one of our highest point value kids because he doesn’t typically turn the ball over, he gets other people the ball when they should have it and he rebounds the heck out of the ball. He does all the things that non-basketball people don’t notice but everybody who knows basketball loves him.”
The lead just kept growing and reached its apex at 23 points, 52-29, on a driving layup from Cooper Riggs with four minutes to play.
Paul Terry paced Springville with 14 points and Cooper Riggs added 12. The Red Devils, which began the night No. 2 in RPI in Class 5A, will likely move up to No. 1 with the win against its region rival.
“This feels great because region for us is still a big deal,” Snell said. “Only one team gets to end up on top of the mountain so region for us still has meaning. Instead of a quick five games it has to run its course of over 14 games. It’s about who can play consistently and the best.”