LOGAN – Ridgeline’s basketball team couldn’t get much of anything going the first time it faced Juan Diego. A newspaper article describing the loss has since hung in the RiverHawk locker room. Ridgeline’s star senior Jaxon Brenchley said it has been the team’s motivation.
The RiverHawks narrowly beat Juan Diego at home shortly after the first defeat, but when the two teams met in the state championship game Saturday afternoon, Ridgeline made it clear it was the state champion. Brenchley scored 31 points in Ridgline’s 89-63 win over Juan Diego.
“We came back,” Brenchley said. “Bounced back.”
Theron Wallentine followed up his 32 points from the semifinal game and dropped another 21. He said he was focused on nothing but basketball for the last two days.
“I’ve just willed myself to not lose or get beat out my senior year and think of things I wish I could have done better,” he said. “I really wanted to do everything I possibly could to win.”
It was the first state championship for Ridgeline basketball, and it came in the school’s first year. It was also head coach Graydon Buchmiller’s first time being a part of a state championship.
“To have it come to fruition in a stage like this and in this setting and circumstances, it’s just special,” he said. “It’s because of the special group of boys that we have.”
Ridgeline attacked from the start. Thanks to 12 early points from Brenchley and six by Dallan Larsen, the Hawks had a 23-13 lead at the end of the first period.
Juan Diego kept fighting, but still trailed 37-29 with less than 10 seconds to go in the half. That’s when Wallentine then hit his second trey. Landon Brenchley stole the inbound pass immediately after and was fouled with less than two seconds remaining. His free throw gave Ridgeline a 12-point halftime lead, the biggest of the game.
A 7-0 Ridgeline run to start the third period came on a basket by Wallentine and five quick points from Jaxon Brenchley. Wallentine then followed a Landon Jenson 3 with a putback bucket to give the Hawks a 25-point lead later in the quarter. Juan Diego never got back within 20.
Larsen said he was surprised to be winning by so much.
“Shots weren’t falling for them,” he said. “We got up by that much and it was crazy, because Juan Diego was one of the best teams in the state.”
He said the postgame feeling of being a state champion was “indescribable.”
“A lot of people think that because we’re 3A we’re a lower talent level,” Larsen said, “but if you put us or Juan Diego inside any other high class we can compete.”