Connor Patterson will admit last year’s Class 1A boys basketball title game was not his shining moment.
A tall, talented Orme team bothered him all night and went on to defeat Gilbert Christian for the championship.
Patterson assured himself that would not be the case on Saturday.
The Knights’ senior forward scored 20 points and hauled down nine rebounds in the team’s 62-42 victory over Thatcher for the Division III state title at Jobing.com Arena.
“Honestly, I got to the arena and I was a little intimidated (last year),” Patterson said. “This year I put it in my mind that I was better than anyone on the court and I took it to whoever was in front of me.”
Sam Jones added 17 points and nine rebounds while Roberto Reyes pitched in with nine points and 10 boards as Gilbert Christian outscored Thatcher in each quarter to cruise to the title.
It is the team’s second championship in three years sandwiched around year’s title game loss. Patterson, Logan Fougnies and Dylan Bliss have all won multiple titles, but it was the first for Reyes and Jones, both sophomores.
“We worked so hard all season and these past two years,” Reyes said. “To finally get it is just the best feeling.”
Gilbert Christian (27-4) beat Thatcher three times this month. The Knights traveled to Thatcher for the final game of the regular season, beat the Eagles in the sectional tournament and here in the title game.
Koby Alva had 15 points to lead Thatcher.
Jerome Joseph took over as coach of the Knights this season and he wanted to soak in every moment, pausing a postgame interview to celebrate with his players.
“This is overwhelming,” he said. “I feel like I’m one of the kids, back in high school. I’m so proud of my team.”