TAYLORSVILLE — Chance Trujillo knows that, as the quarterback of the Davis High football team, there’s a lot he can control. Playing basketball requires more of a team mentality because he has to trust things like his teammate being there on a backside rotation, or a teammate boxing out on a rebound, but he actually loves that about the game.
Playing No. 1 seed Westlake in the 6A boys basketball state championship Saturday, however, required Trujillo to zero in on his quarterback mentality.
He did, scoring the first eight points of the game, and Davis led wire-to-wire on its way to a 60-55 victory at Salt Lake Community College, the school’s first boys basketball state championship since 2002.
“Coach was talking about how we watch film and we can see we can control so much more than what actually happens on the floor, so that was my mindset coming into the game,” Trujillo said.
Trujillo hit a pair of 3s as part of his early 8-0 run and shot 4 of 5 from beyond the arc in the first half. He finished with a game-high 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including five made 3s.
“It was huge coming out punching them in the face,” Trujillo said. “They’re the one-seed, so sending that message right off the bat to set the tone for the game was huge.”
Davis coach Chad Sims was hardly surprised by the heroics, saying Trujillo put everything on his shoulders about halfway through region play. It was what one would expect from a team leader who guaranteed the Darts would be back in the state championship game after losing to Fremont in the final last year.
“He made a promise. I didn’t know if I believed it at first, but he came through on his promise,” Sims said. “He’s a competitor. He plays football, he’s a leader, he believes in himself. That senior class, to be quite honest ... they’ve won at every level. When they were all growing up, they always won. So, they get to high school and they kept winning and we’re like, ‘Gosh, OK, this group might be good,’ and they came through.”
Though Davis never trailed Saturday, the game was hardly a cakewalk. After building a 23-10 lead, Westlake went on a 13-5 run to get within five with less than a minute to go in the first half. With 0.3 seconds left, the Darts caught a break when Colby Sims — the coach’s son — was fouled on a 3-point attempt. He made all three free throws to give Davis a 31-23 halftime advantage.
The Darts scorched the nets by going 10 of 15 from the field and 6 of 10 from beyond the arc in the first half, while holding the Thunder to 9 of 22 shooting and 2 of 4 from 3-point range. But turnovers plagued Davis, which turned the ball over nine times in the first half compared to just four turnovers for Westlake.
The Thunder got within three early in the second half after turning a pair of Darts turnovers into points, but Davis responded with a 9-4 spurt.
Again, Westlake closed the gap, pulling within three with 11.8 seconds left in the third period, but Trujillo made a short jumper as the buzzer blared to quell the rally.
The Thunder student section went wild early in the fourth quarter when Will Jensen hit a 3 as he was being fouled, cutting the Darts’ lead to 42-40, but he missed the subsequent free-throw attempt. Davis responded with an 8-1 run to take a 50-41 lead and Westlake never got closer than four the rest of the way.
“I think our guys believed in themselves,” Chad Sims said. “They knew they could do it. We’ve been in this position before. We had won ugly ways and they were OK with seeing pressure.”
Colby Sims and Rex Sunderland each added 14 points for the Darts. Jensen led the Thunder with 16 points, while Kaleb Furey scored 13 and Noah McCord added 12.
Colby Sims said an underdog mentality was critical to the team’s success this season. In addition to beating the No. 1 seed, Davis — the No. 7 seed — also defeated No. 2 Pleasant Grove and No. 3 Corner Canyon.
“We had a lot of underclassmen and so that’s what fueled us every day, every practice, and Chance was a great leader, every practice got us going,” Colby Sims said. “It’s fun being the underdog.”