Cedar Lady Reds advance to 4A basketball semifinals with defeat of Stansbury

Cedar guard Logann Laws moves past Kalee Philips of Stansbury, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 28, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — The Cedar High girls basketball team stayed unbeaten on the season with a 52-33 defeat of Stansbury late Thursday evening.

Cedar guard Mayci Torgerson plays defense against Stansbury, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 28, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The contest, which started at 9:10 p.m., was the final 4A state basketball game of the day staged at Southern Utah University’s America First Event Center, but the sizable crowd didn’t seem to mind the late hour as they showed up in force to cheer on the Lady Reds to their 23rd consecutive victory.

Cedar’s trademark defense went on full display in the opening minutes as the Lady Reds jumped to a 16-1 lead.

After Stansbury’s first several possessions ended in missed shots or turnovers, guard Kayla Alvey finally hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:10 left in the first quarter to give the Lady Stallions their first field goal of the game.

Cedar held a commanding 20-4 lead after one quarter, but things slowed down during the second quarter as Stansbury outscored the Lady Reds 8-7 during the stanza to make it 27-12 at the half.

“We thought we’d put some pressure on them, get them to make some turnovers, and obviously in the first eight, 10 or 12 minutes we did that,” said Cedar head coach Corry Nielsen. “We had a good start. We got out on the break and passed the ball. We shared the ball well. But in the middle of the game, we kind of hit a lull, and it was my fault. I kind of had us back off. I can’t do that. I’ve got to keep us always on attack and always full speed ahead.”

Stansbury got as close as 13 points late in the third period, when freshman forward Epa Tia hit a free throw to make it 33-20. But Cedar guard Japrix Weaver closed out the third with a pair of jump shots to bump the lead back up to 37-20.

Stansbury’s Ainsley Thurber is guarded by Denim Henkel of Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 28, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Point guard Logann Laws scored Cedar’s first two baskets of the fourth period to give her team a 21-point cushion, and the Lady Reds were able to maintain a 20-point lead or thereabouts the rest of the way.

Laws, who led all scorers with 18 points, said after the game she and her teammates were determined to play hard against Stansbury.

“Just focus on this game ahead of us,” she said, describing her team’s mindset as the game began. “Don’t worry about anything else. Leave it out all on the floor. Nothing matters but this game right here. Just teamwork.”

Joining Laws in scoring in double figures was Weaver, who finished with 13 points. As a team, the Lady Reds showed a tendency to shoot from closer range than usual, making 21 2-point field goals and just two 3-pointers.

Stansbury was led by Tia’s 12 points, while senior guard Kalee Philips added 7.

With the victory, Cedar advances to Friday’s semifinals, where they’ll face the Lehi Lady Pioneers at 2:30 p.m., also at SUU. Lehi came from behind in the final minutes to defeat Green Canyon 58-55 in its quarterfinal game Thursday night, right before the Cedar vs. Stansbury matchup.

“Lehi’s a very good team,” coach Nielsen said. “It’ll be a good challenge for us.”

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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