OREM — In Mountain View's first games this season, coach Dave Houle said the team needed a player to do at least some of the things All-American center Danielle Cheesman had done for the team that won the 5A state tournament and was ESPN.com's national champions.
He tried player after player as the Bruins tried to adjust to not having a dominant player in the paint.
But as the team finished preseason play against an out-of-state team, California's Artesia High, Saturday night with a 57-51 win, the middle looks solid with Megan Morton muscling her way around in there.
"Megan has been the girl to step up in the middle that we needed," Houle said. "She's really coming on."
Morton showed strength and composure in the physical contest Saturday night in Orem. The 5-11 senior was playing against Lauren Ervin and Cacie Pope, who each had several inches on her.
She had 10 rebounds; seven of them were defensive.
The Bruins started slow, but made adjustments to their press against the Fast Ladies and changes to the way they broke Artesia's press. Houle wouldn't give away his secrets as to what he did, but he said they noticed the out-of-towners were much quicker than they expected.
"That's a great team," he said. "We were on our heels the first quarter. It's been a long week; this is our third game."
Mountain View might have been shorter, but they were stronger, and their defense got them back in the game in the second quarter, where they outscored the Fast Ladies 18-8 to go into halftime with a three-point lead. In the second half, the Bruins started with two steals on the press, and Heather Hansen finished with a team-high six steals.
Sophomore Mallary Gillespie also had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Bruins, and Brittany Tressler had 10 points. Guard Hollie Hansen had been in bed with strep throat for two days but still managed four points, including a layup off a pass from her twin sister Heather, who finished with seven points.
Ashley Cheesman came off the bench and finished with seven rebounds and five points.
Ervin had 24 points for the Fast Ladies. She was the only Artesia player in double digits.