By McCade Pearson
Photos by Dave Argyle (DBA Photography)
With the state tournament all set and ready to go, the Riverton Silverwolves look to get back on top. The Silverwolves have historically been a girls basketball powerhouse.
The Region 4 champions have walked away with the region title four of the past five years. The lone year they didn’t was 2013; the year they were able to regroup and come away with a state championship instead.
Riverton is led by seniors Tess Campbell and Kirsten Spencer along with junior Tiena Afu. These three players averaged a combined 30 points per game and have helped lead the Wolves to an 18-3 record along the way, including an ultra impressive 11-1 record in Region 4 play.
The leaders on this team were the bench players on that championship team two years ago.
Tess Campbell, who was just a sophomore on that title team, has transitioned from a player on the end of the bench that year to the middle of the action these days.
“Sophomore year was amazing,” Campbell said. “It was cool to see how the seniors pulled our whole team together at the end of the season to make that final push for state. Being a captain on the team this year has been even better.
“We have gotten so close as a team and are friends on and off the court. It’s different this year because now I get to be one of the one’s pulling everyone together to give it everything we have. I have so much love for my teammates and we’re not leaving the court till we bring home the hardware.”
American Fork and Riverton both impressed throughout the season; both teams were able to navigate through Region 4 without a loss to any of the other five teams. However, both of these teams were able to defend their home court against one another.
Friday the 13th ended up being an unlucky day for the Lady Cavemen as they lost the coin flip for the No. 1 seed coming out of Region 4.
Riverton will therefore be matched up with Bingham this Monday at 5:50 p.m. as the tournament tips off at Salt Lake Community College. The Miners were able to get past the Wolves back on Dec. 18 with a 52-51 overtime win, however after going 10-0 in the preseason, the Miners managed to go 5-5 while claiming the No. 4 seed from that league.
“It’s always been tough playing Bingham, but we’re ready,” Campbell said, “then later on the journey to a state title. Any team going to the playoffs can take it, we’re not underestimating anyone, and we know that if we can execute and play as a team we will do well.”
There is a different sense of urgency with this team as opposed to last year. That team was 21-0 heading into state, and the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School National Tournament had provided the 5A state champions with a chance to play in the four-team tournament at the most famous arena in the world.
With the venue set at Madison Square Garden in New York City, it was to be broadcast by ESPN. The team heartbreakingly fell victim to an upset in the quarterfinals, leaving them to watch Fremont go to play at MSG (they later lost in the national championship).
Girls basketball has been the most wide open in years. Realistically there are 8 to 10 teams who could win it all. Riverton looks towards the top, but it’s going to be a dogfight all week, as whoever comes out on top will have to play nearly perfect basketball.