CEDAR CITY – The Kanab High School girls basketball team won its third straight 2A basketball state championship on Saturday, while the Enterprise Wolves won the boys 2A title. Both victories came over the North Summit Braves.

Saturday night’s championship games wrapped up the three-day 2A state tournaments staged at Southern Utah University’s America First Event Center in Cedar City. 

2A Girls

Although No. 2 seeded Kanab and No. 1 seed North Summit each had 24-2 season records heading into Saturday’s state title game, the Cowboys  jumped out to an early 18-7 lead in the opening quarter and never looked back, eventually claiming a 59-47 victory.

Leading the way for the Cowboys was junior guard Savannah Bateman, whose 15 points came on five 3-pointers. Sophomore center Rylee Little was dominant on both ends of the floor, scoring 14 points while grabbing 12 rebounds and blocking four shots.

“She had her best game of the tournament in that last game,” Kanab head coach Klint Glover said of Little. “She had struggled a little up to that point but she really got her mind right and overcame, you know, she got it figured out by that last game and handled it really well. She’s a really really exceptional kid.”

Kanab’s Rylee Little grabs a rebound vs. North Summit in 2A girls basketball championship game, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 24, 2024 | Photo by Haven Scott, St. George News

Senior guards Ashlyn Houston and Anna Cutler, who have both been part of all three of Kanab’s state championship teams since 2022, added 11 and four points, respectively.

Coach Glover praised the backcourt duo’s solid teamwork, noting that their collective experience proved to be a key advantage.  

“Really, nothing happens without Anna getting the ball up the floor,” Glover said of Cutler, who has started for the Cowboys all four years of high school. “You know, that last game, they face-guarded her and she still ran the offense being harassed the whole way. 

“And Ashlyn handles that when (Anna) doesn’t,” Glover quickly added. “Those two seniors are really, really big. It showed up in the form of assists. A lot of it was them doing what I had asked them to do. They really did a good job of being unselfish and making sure we won by getting the ball to kids who weren’t being guarded like they were. I was really pleased with both of their efforts.”

All five of Bateman’s timely 3-pointers came off assists by either Cutler or Houston, the coach added.

Also for the Cowboys, sophomore Sidney Dayea scored 11 points while junior Taylor Janes added four.

Glover noted that the Cowboys had already defeated North Summit earlier in the season, a 53-45 win during a preseason tournament in Richfield.

Kanab’s Anna Cutler receives the first-place trophy after Cowboys won their third straight 2A state girls basketball championship, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 24, 2024 | Photo courtesy of Jeremy Houston, St. George News

“We’d beaten them earlier,” Glover said. “We knew they were a good team that had improved since then, just like we were a good team that had improved. We beat them in the preview by eight or so points, so we weren’t afraid of them. But you’re always afraid of losing that big of a game, so there was some pressure on the girls and they handled it well.”

After losing to Beaver at Kanab 48-36 on Jan. 6 (their only region loss), the Cowboys went on to win their last 13 games of the season, all but one of those by double digits and eight of them by 20 points or more.

“The best part about that Beaver loss was that it got us serious about when we went over there and played them,” Glover said, referring to Kanab’s payback 59-43 victory at Beaver on Jan. 30.

“That was a really good win for us,” he added. “And from that time forward, we haven’t been scared of anybody. Of the five girls we have on the floor, any one of them can score double digits any night. And oftentimes, several of them do. You can’t leave any of them (defensively).”

Kanab had opened the 2A state playoffs at home with a convincing 66-42 win over Millard on Feb. 16. That put the Cowboys in the quarterfinals at SUU on Thursday, when they doubled up Region 18 rival Enterprise 46-23. Then, in Friday’s semifinal, Kanab defeated Draper APA 64-50, advancing them to Saturday’s final vs. North Summit.

Over its 27-game season, Kanab outscored its opponents by an average score of 63.3 to 40.

Later in the evening on Saturday, dozens of vehicles, including fire trucks and emergency vehicles with lights and sirens blaring, were there to welcome Kanab players and coaches around 10:30 p.m. for the traditional celebratory procession through town.

“It might have even been a bigger deal this time,” Glover said with a chuckle. “It woke everybody up again.” 

2A Boys

The Enterprise Wolves hoisted their first state championship trophy in boys basketball in 30 years on Saturday after defeating the North Summit Braves, 61-48.

Enterprise players (L-R) Treysen Randall, Brady Crouch, Dax Hunt and Parker Holt join head coach Bud Randall in celebrating 2A boys basketball state title, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 24, 2024 | Photo courtesy of Enterprise High Athletics, St. George News

The first half was closely played, with the No. 3 Wolves taking a 25-21 halftime lead over No. 5 seed North Summit. Enterprise then outscored the Braves 21-12 during the third quarter building a double-digit cushion that would hold up all the way to the end.

“We did mix it up a little bit in the second half with the defense they were running,” said Enterprise head coach Bud Randall. “We have an offense where we can split them out a little bit. We started running that and then got open looks around the 10- to 12-foot range.”

Junior center Treyson Whitman led Enterprise’s balanced scoring attack with 16 points. Also scoring in double figures for the Wolves were a trio of senior guards, as Treysen Randall and Brady Crouch contributed 14 points apiece and Dax Hunt added 10. Senior Forward Parker Holt was among the other players who made solid contributions in the win.

The victory marked Enterprise’s fifth-ever state championship but its first since 1994. The Wolves have come tantalizingly close each of the past four years, finishing in second place in state in 2020, 2021 and 2022 and then losing in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Parowan in 2023.

Remarkably, coach Randall has had a hand in all five of the state titles in Enterprise’s history, having played on each of the teams that won three straight championships in the mid-1980s and having been a member of the coaching staff for the 1994 winners.

This season, the Wolves were one of three teams to finish with 10-2 records in Region 18 play, the other two being Kanab and South Sevier.

“That prepares us every year,” Randall said. “We usually have a pretty tough region, so playing those close games sure seems to help us.”

The Kanab Cowboys, last year’s state runners-up, were seeded No. 1 in this year’s tournament. The Cowboys survived a scare on Thursday when they rallied from four points behind with seven seconds to play to defeat No. 8 seed Grand County, 59-58. However, on Friday, the Cowboys fell to North Summit in the semifinals by a score of 50-47.

Enterprise players and coaches celebrate 2A boys basketball state title, Enterprise, Utah, Feb. 24, 2024 | Photo courtesy of Enterprise High Athletics, St. George News

Randall, whose Wolves had beaten Rockwell 80-60 in Thursday’s quarterfinals and American Prep West Valley 59-46 in Friday’s semifinals, said his team was prepared to face either Kanab or North Summit in Saturday’s final.

Either way, he noted, it would have meant a rematch against a team that had already beaten the Wolves earlier in the season.

“Our kids were prepared to play either one,” Randall said. “Kanab actually had beaten us both times this year in our region, which were our only two region losses. But we also played North Summit earlier in the year and they beat us up there.” (The Braves defeated the Wolves 55-50 in Coalville on Dec. 9.)

So when we found out (our finals opponent) was North Summit, they were pretty excited to get a chance to redeem themselves,” Randall added. 

The team’s celebratory parade is scheduled to take place Monday evening starting at 6 p.m., with the procession route starting from the Enterprise Fire Station and ending at the high school.

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