HURRICANE — Brooklyn Gubler celebrated her birthday with a big scoring night and the Hurricane Tigers advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time in three years with a 78-53 win over the Tooele Buffaloes Friday night at the Tiger’s Den.
Hurricane, which earned the right to host the game as the No. 2-seed from Region 9, started the game with high-pressure defense and played the hot-hand well, forging a 15-9 lead early. Tooele junior forward Courtney Schiwal led her team early, scoring seven points out of the nine points scored in the first quarter.
The Lady Tigers toyed with the Buffaloes, keeping them in the game in the first half. It was 35-25 at intermission.
“It was a little intense in the first half,” Thomas said. “We were a little closer than we wanted to be but it ended good.”
After halftime, the Lady Tigers made sure to expand the lead and went on a 15-0 run early in the third quarter, turning the semi-close game into a blowout. At one point, Hurricane pushed the lead up over 30 points.
“We were really fast and really emphasized running and not getting tired by the end of the game and I think that really showed in the last couple quarters,” said Tiger guard Shania Hurst.
Gubler, on her 18th birthday, celebrated by racking up 27 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. Hurst racked up numbers on all fronts with 13 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists and 9 steals.
“One of the things that they do really well is passing to each other and seeing the open person,” Thomas said. “There is not a selfish person on the court, so when they see somebody that is open, if it’s a lob over the head for a layup, they make sure that they get it to the person. That’s one thing that the girls have. The teamwork is great.”
Providing crucial minutes and hot off the bench was Tigers center Morgan Huntsman, who had eight points on the night.
Next up for the Lady Tigers is a huge quarterfinal match-up with North Sanpete, the top team from Region 12.
“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity really,” Hurst said regarding the state tournament. “Not many teams get this chance.”
Thomas was excited, but cautious considering the record her team has with North Sanpete.
“We have played North Sanpete,” Thomas said. “We are going to be figuring out what we need to do correct. We’ve lost to them twice, but hopefully it is hard to come back and beat a team three times in a row.”
The Buffaloes were led by two players with double-digit points, Schiwal with 24 points and Taylor Thomas with 13.
Hurricane and North Sanpete play the 7:30 p.m. game Thursday night at SUU’s Centrum Arena in the state quarterfinals. The Hawks beat Park City 59-39 behind 21 points from Taylor Gordon in Friday night’s first round of the playoffs. North Sanpete, 18-3, handed the Tigers two of their eight losses as the Tigers are 14-8. Both games were on neutral courts as NS won by four in Richfield at the 3A preseason preview tourney and the Hawks won by 11 at the Steve Hodson Classic.
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