St. George • Danyale Thomas made sure Layton Christian didn’t leave the Class 2A girls’ basketball state tournament without a win as the Eagles stormed back to take down Waterford 47-37 on Friday at Desert Hills High.
The 5-foot-4 junior point guard put on a show and nearly outscored the entire Waterford team by herself en route to a career-high 29 points.
Thomas made sure to deliver her biggest performance yet on the biggest stage of the season.
“We have a lot of seniors on this team, and I didn’t want to let them down,” Thomas said. “We made it to the playoffs last year after years of not making it, but we aren’t satisfied just making it this year. We want to take state.”
“Danyale is a special player and really controlled the game for us,” Layton Christian coach Craig Morris said. “She can take a game over, and tonight she put the team on her back and helped us beat a good Waterford team.”
Thomas had a game to remember with five 3-pointers to go with four steals.
“If you’re going to have a career night, it might as well be in the playoffs,” Morris said.
Thomas said: “That’s the most points I’ve ever scored since junior high.”
Waterford jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Thomas connected on one of her five 3-pointers. Despite foul trouble from junior center Lauren Knight, the Ravens still had the lead late in the second quarter before the Eagles made a big run just before the half.
Thomas connected on a 3-pointer, followed it with a steal and a layup and Jada Wyms, who had 11 points on the night, added a jumper to give the Eagles their first lead of the game at 18-16 at the half.
The third quarter was all Layton Christian as the Eagles opened the second half on a 7-0 run to force a Waterford timeout. Layton Christian pushed the lead to nine before taking a 34-27 lead into the fourth quarter.
Waterford closed the gap to 34-31 with just over three minutes left in the game when freshman guard Jaimeson Meyer, who scored a team-high 22 points, scored on a layup on a sweet full-court pass by Katherine Curtis.
But that’s as close as the Ravens would get as Thomas closed the game with a steal and back-to-back-baskets.