As expected, Region 9’s top two teams, Snow Canyon and Cedar, rolled to easy home wins in the first round of the girls 3A state tournament. The other two games involving southern Utah schools were close and exciting, with No. 3 Desert Hills losing in overtime after a stunning buzzer-beater in regulation and No. 4-seed Pine View traveling 500 miles to knock off Union.
Here’s a look at the first round contests:
Snow Canyon 78, Park City 44
The No. 1-ranked Lady Warriors jumped on visiting Park City early and never let up. They had their best shooting game of the season, hitting their shots at a 53-percent clip, including 58 percent from beyond the arc, en route to a 78-44 shellacking of the Lady Miners.
After hitting only 1 of 4 from 3-point land in the first half, Snow Canyon made 10 of 15 trifectas in the second. And they came from six different players (Mada Mooring, Natalie Coulam, Nikenna Durante, Sidney Bott, Lindsy McConnell and Natalie Gunn). None of the shots from distance came with any hesitation.
“Teams cannot key on one or two individuals,” said Roden. “We tell our shooters if they are open, they have the green light.”
Durante opened the game with a basket and an assist to Coulam to give the Warriors a quick 4-0 lead in the first minute. Mooring’s second basket was the first 3-pointer of the game and gave Snow Canyon a 13-2 lead with 4:30 remaining in the first quarter. Sydnie Hoskins’ post move put SCHS up 17-4 with just under three minutes remaining.
The score was 20-4 with 36 seconds remaining after Coulam scored a basket and a free throw. The Lady Miners Marina Mayo hit a 3-pointer with four seconds remaining to get the score to 20-7.
“We keyed on their post (Rachel Brothers),” said Roden. “She is very tall and thought she could hurt us inside.”
That assignment fell mainly to McConnell and Hoskins. “I gave up six inches to her,” said Hoskins. “But we kept the ball out of her hands in the lane.”
After Mooring hit two free throws to open the second, the Lady Miners went on a 7-2 run. Madeline Komisar got two baskets on steals and fast break layups. Mayo’s runner in the lane brought Park City to within 10 (24-14) with five minutes remaining in the half.
“They had some quick guards,” said Mooring. “But we usually have at least four ball handlers on the floor. That limits the pressure other teams can put on us.”
McConnell’s tip pass to Mooring led to the basket that broke the run and started an 8-0 run for the Lady Warriors. Mooring had a drive and dish to Hoskins and added a second basket in the run one minute later. With 1:40 remaining in the second quarter, the Warrior lead was 32-14. Park City got two baskets from Rachel Brothers and Jessica Perry before Coulam closed the half with a 15-foot jumper from the left baseline. Park City faced a 34-18 deficit at halftime.
Coulam and Mooring led Snow Canyon with 11 points apiece at halftime. “I was trying to be aggressive,” said Coulam. “We were getting open lanes off high screens.”
In the third, Snow Canyon attacked the hoop aggressively, getting layups or getting fouled. Brothers’ putback with 2:30 left in the third put the score at 43-26. Then the 3-point barrage began. Durante started it off with a 3-point shot off the fast break. In the last minute of the third quarter, Bott drilled two consecutive treys. Jamie Brown’s basket in the lane closed out the quarter, giving Snow Canyon a comfortable 56-31 advantage.
In the fourth, the Warriors continued their sharpshooting. Five of their first eight made shots came from distance. Roden emptied his bench after Durante’s shot gave Snow Canyon a 69-38 lead with 3:20 remaining. Allie Parr’s runner gave Snow Canyon its biggest lead at the end of the game.
Snow Canyon moves to the quarterfinals with a 21-2 record. The Lady Warriors will face Richfield (which defeated Logan Friday 37-28) in the next round, with tip scheduled for 4:10 p.m. Thursday at SUU’s Centrum. Park City’s season is complete with a 10-8 record.
Pine View 54, Union 48
The Lady Panthers took a 22-10 lead in the first quarter, then held on over the final three to get an opening-round playoff win on the road over Union 54-48.
Pine View outrebounded Union 39-18 and outscored them 22-4 on second-chance points.
“Breana Moeai and Sarrah Pierce were big for us,” said Brinagh. “Their inside presence dominated the game on both offense and defense.”
Tayvia Ah Quin drew the toughest defensive assignment. Shayla Draper, who came into the contest averaging a team-high 14 points, was held to 2 of 11 shooting and six points by Ah Quin.
Individually, Moeai had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Pierce shared scoring honors with 12 points and five rebounds. Ah Quin had double-figure scoring with 10 points and five rebounds. Claire Newby led the team with three assists.
The Lady Cougars finish their season at 11-10. Pine View moves to 13-9 and will face Morgan in the quarterfinals (at 5:50 p.m. Thursday at SUU). The Lady Trojans beat Juab 55-51 Friday.
Cedar 60, Grantsville 38
The Lady Reds won big, but it took awhile to get the motor going for Cedar. At one point early in the fourth quarter, heavily-favored Cedar led by only four points.
“It was one of those weird nights,” said Cedar head coach John Elison. “We were a little skittish, made some mistakes, but for the most part most of our easy stuff was not falling. I knew it was only a matter of time before we would blow the game open.”
That time came in the fourth when the Lady Reds put together a 27-10 run. “Morgan Myers took control in the fourth,” said Elison. “She got some steals and also got the ball to our players in good position.”
The Lady Reds outrebounded Grantsville 39-28. “Maisie Elison got 10 rebounds, but more importantly, held their leading scorer (Abby Butler) to two baskets,” said Elison. “She is their leading scorer (13 ppg) and was clearly frustrated tonight.”
Cedar post Jessica Whetman had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Hannah Williams also scored 13. Carly Davis and Courtney Morley joined them in double figures with 12 and 11 points respectively. Myers led the team with five assists. Dream Weaver led the team with four steals.
Cedar will face reigning 3A champion Juan Diego in the quarterfinals (Thursday, 9:10 p.m. at The Centrum). The Soaring Eagle beat North Sanpete 49-40 Friday. Cedar improves to 18-5 while Grantsville drops to 9-14.
Stansbury 68, Desert Hills 63 (F/OT)
Ashley Beckstrand scored 39 points, but that was not enough to get an opening win on the road in the first round.
“We led almost the entire game,” said Desert Hills coach Ron Denos. “They took a one-point lead with two minutes remaining.”
The lead did not last long however. Beckstrand drove the lane and found Elly Williams. Her post move put the Lady Thunder back on top. After an empty possession by the Stallions they fouled Beckstrand with five seconds remaining. Beckstrand calmly went to the line and sank two free throws for a 54-51 lead.
The Lady Stallions inbounded the ball to their leading scorer, Angie Kilpack. Kilpack dribbled up quickly and heaved a 45-footer as time expired. It banked in. Overtime.
“That shot seemed to deflate our girls,” said Denos. “We came out flat in the overtime. They quickly took a five-point lead. We were able to get within two points, but that is as close as we could get. They hit their free throws in the end to seal it.”
Beckstrand hit 16 of 18 from the charity stripe, but the rest of the team hit only 7 of 14.
“What hurt us was that five of those misses came on the front end of one and ones,” said Denos. “That is the equivalent of missing two free throws.”
“The whole team played with intensity,” said Denos. “But a few of our better players had rough games when it came to shooting.”
In addition to Beckstrand’s 39 points, the junior guard also led the team with nine rebounds. Kylie Williams had eight points and six steals. Elly Williams had six points and four rebounds. Rylee Jensen also had six points and led the team with four assists.
Stansbury moves to 14-9 and will face Carbon in the quarterfinals (7:30 p.m. Thursday at SUU). The Lady Dinos defeated Bear River 47-22. Desert Hills’ season is complete with an 11-11 record.
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