As Region 8 boys basketball play got underway on this week, none of the eight teams had a winning record.
Somebody is going to step up, get on a roll and play their best basketball at the end of the season.
With just two wins between them coming into the game, Springville and Spanish Fork staged a classic on Tuesday, going to double overtime before the Red Devils earned a 77-69 victory.
“We’ve just really been trying to push the guys to understand that passion and energy are going to dictate how they will play,” Springville coach Justin Snell said. “It doesn’t mean we’ll always end up on top but it means they’re going to be in the game fighting. And tonight they fought.”
The Red Devils (1-0 Region 8, 2-7 overall) trailed by 12 points with under five minutes to play but staged a gutsy rally to tie the game in regulation. Springville led by as many as four in the first extra session but with time ticking down Spanish Fork’s Morley Bennett banked in a 3-pointer to beat the buzzer and force a second overtime.
In the second OT, Springville knuckled down defensively and held the Dons without a field goal, putting the game away at the foul line.
“We had some stretches where we looked a little ugly,” Snell said. “With a whole new group and no summer together, that’s kind of how things have flowed. We’ve told the guys to let everything else go, play really hard and we’ll let that ball roll where it goes.”
Ryder Hansen led Springville with 22 points, Jake Nadauld had 19 (13 after halftime) and Jack Schreiner added 18 on five 3-pointers. Zach Argyle scored 23 points to lead Spanish Fork (0-1, 1-7).
The Dons led by as many as 14 points and held a 12-point advantage, 53-41, with under five minutes to play. But the home team came charging back. Hansen scored six straight points on a 3-pointer and a 3-point play to cut the deficit to 53-46 with 3:15 remaining.
Nadauld scored the next six points for the Red Devils, tossing in a critical 3-pointer and then knifing in for an acrobatic, spinning layup to pull Springville within one, 55-54, with 14 seconds to play. Spanish Fork missed the front end of a one-and-one and Nadauld drew a foul driving to the basket with 2.4 seconds remaining.
“I want the ball at the end of the game,” Nadauld said. “I know that I can make the right decisions and get the ball to my teammates or drive if I’m open.”
Nadauld made the first free throw to tie the game but missed the second to send the game to the first overtime.
Springville won the Class 5A title last season but graduated eight seniors, including Valley Player of the Year Paul Terry and leading scorer Zach Visentin. COVID-19 prevented the new varsity players from getting together this summer and the growth process has been painful at times.
“They’ve been battling harder every game,” Snell said. “Our goal is to peak at the end and see how things go. When these guys bring the energy they are a tough team. No one is going to want to play them. That’s always been our goal. Win, lose or draw, we want to be the team where everybody looks at the schedule and says, ‘I don’t want them. I’ll take anybody else but I don’t want them.’”
Springville travels to Wasatch on Friday and Spanish Fork hosts Maple Mountain as Region 8 play continues.