Taylorsville • Mountain Crest played with little regard for Springville’s undefeated record for three quarters Tuesday.
The Mustangs entered the fourth quarter tied, but that’s when they woke up Malia Nawahine.
Springville downed Mountain Crest 60-48 in a back-and-forth contest in the first round of the Class 4A state championship tournament. The Mustangs held close to the Red Devils through three quarters until Nawahine came alive, scoring 10 of her 22 points in the fourth.
“When she is able to take a deep breath and finish, that’s when she is the best,” Springville coach Nancy Warner said about Nawahine. “She has the ability to close.”
The Mustangs relied on the shooting of McKenzie Anderson, who finished with eight points, and a zone defense to slow down Springville. It wasn’t until the Red Devils started a full court-press that resulted in 14 turnovers that the Region 8 champions took over.
Springville started slow, and Nawahine picked up three quick fouls.
“I can’t get into foul trouble, but I did,” Nawahine said. “It was in the third quarter that I realized that I needed to be a leader and play for my teammates.”
Assisting Nawahine in taking over the game was Savannah Park, who scored 17 points but more importantly distributed the ball. Nawahine said that Park has the ability to put the ball in the right player’s hands.
“She does a great job,” Nawahine said. “She sees the floor really well, and it fun to play with her.”
Warner credited Park with sparking the offense.
“Hustler. Awesome. She made some keys steals and knocked down some free throws,” Warner said. “I am grateful for her hustle, effort and energy.”