Riverton • In a rough-and-tumble battle, Riverton junior Kaitlin Burgess calmly set her feet, aimed true and drained shot after shot from beyond the arc.
Burgess hit six 3-pointers overall and scored 30 points to down Region 3 rival Herriman 66-60, earning redemption from a loss to the same team earlier in the season and further momentum ahead of the girls’ basketball state tournament.
Bodies were flying and both teams showed the urgency and physicality of title contenders throughout a game that included two technical fouls. Burgess described it as “definitely a war.”
“I think everyone has their tough games, and I’ve had a few of those this season, but I’m really glad I was able to step it up tonight, especially in a difficult game,” she said.
Riverton started slowly, falling behind 10-2, but the Silverwolves rebounded with an 11-2 run to take a 13-12 lead after the opening quarter.
Riverton coach Ron Ence attributed part of Burgess’ success to senior center Morgan Kane, who absorbed triple teams all night to finish with 14 points.
“You know who our key player is and when they focus on her, the other girls have to step up and make a play, if that’s a shot or the right pass,” Ence said.
Herriman made a push after halftime with an 8-2 run keyed by senior Samantha Jessop to reduce the deficit to seven, but a 3-pointer from Burgess and a nice post move to beat a double team for a basket helped Riverton keep an 11-point lead heading into the fourth.
Ence gave credit to Burgess for keeping Riverton far enough ahead to gut out the win, saying she’s one of the best pure shooters he’s had in 15 years coaching at the school.
“She’s got a lot of confidence, so we give her the green light more than maybe some other kids in the past,” he said.
Following redemption wins the past two weeks against region leaders Copper Hills and Herriman, having lost earlier this season, Burgess said the victory builds momentum in a crucial time of the season.
“We’ve definitely had a few losses that have dropped our confidence, but tonight really lifted it and has given us hope that we can really win state,” she said.