3A girls' basketball: Morgan, Desert Hills to play for title
Cedar City • In the pressure of a high school basketball season, sometimes a team forgets the importance of just having fun.
When the Morgan girls' team began having fun Friday night in the SUU Centrum, they found the key to earning a 58-48 victory over plucky underdog North Sanpete and a chance to play Desert Hills for the Class 3A girls' basketball title Saturday at 5 p.m.
"We were just not having fun," said the Trojans' Breanna Hurlbut about her team struggling to pull ahead of the Hawks in the first half, something that hasn't happened often in a season in which Morgan lost a single game. "Our goal is to have fun. When we do that, we play so much better. We play as a team and enjoy ourselves. We remember why we play basketball. We love each other. We have fun together and put more heart into it."
Morgan coach Brad Matthews put it a slightly different way as he analyzed a spurt late in the second quarter and early in the third that turned a 16-16 tie into a 45-30 Trojan lead.
"It was huge for our confidence coming into halftime, being up instead of down," he said. "That was a big boost for us. I thought our girls really did OK being where they were at."
In many ways, Morgan is a team without stars. For example, nine players scored Friday night. Sophomore Aubrey Saunders led her team with nine rebounds. And Jessica Carter, who had struggled with her shooting as of late, hit four 3-pointers to tie her with Rashel Blazzard for a team-high 12 points.
Desert Hills 49, Cedar City 20 • Call it shock and awe. Desert Hills raced to a 20-4 lead and never looked back to earn its third straight trip to the 3A title game. "We had a goal in the first four minutes to come out and really play hard and execute," said Thunder coach Chris Allred. "I thought we did a good job of that. We got a little breathing room and then just concentrated on playing good defense." Blair Bliss led Desert Hills with 17 points; Haley Bodnar had 12.