One team let a win slip away because it forgot the basics, while the other team held onto a victory because it remembered those same concepts.
Highland pulled away from West in the fourth quarter with some big defensive plays and solid free-throw shooting. The Rams improved to 8-3, 3-1 in Region 5, with the 64-53 win over the Panthers Thursday night at West High.
"We have to be committed to doing the fundamentals, the basics," said Highland Coach Robyn Bemis. "It's not a matter of can they play tough defense; it's will they?"
She pointed to consistent rebounding — offensively and defensively — and the Rams got a half dozen points on steals or turnovers created by their press in the fourth quarter.
"Sometimes we all want to be shot blockers," Bemis said. Maybe that's because the Rams have one of the best shot blockers in the state in center Melissa Dennett. She had three blocks against the Panthers and countless tipped or alter shots. She finished with 20 points, about five below her average.
Dennett said being double and triple teamed is difficult to deal with at first, but she's getting used to it as teams try to contain the state's leading scorer.
When frustration sets in, Dennett said, "That's when you come in and start scoring all of your baskets. That's how you get even."
She did score 14 of her points in the second-half.
"I thought we did a good job of keeping Dennett out of the middle most of the game," said West coach Ken Hardy. "Erin Smith did a great job against her."
In the final minutes, he said his young team quit doing the things that kept it in the game up to that point.
"We were not boxing Dennett out," he said. "Of all the people on the floor, we cannot forget about her. . . . It was the little things, but the most important things."
Dennett got offensive help from Jill Thomas, who hit two big 3-point shots in the fourth quarter to keep the Panthers at bay. She finished with 19 points.
Two of Wests guards, Tamika Hardy and Becky Sorenson, did what they could to close the gap, exchanging 3-pointers with Thomas. Hardy finished with 16 points, three 3-point shots, and seven assists. Sorenson had 20 points, including four 3-point baskets. Teammate Blair Wood managed 10 rebounds against the much taller Dennett.
The Panthers are now 1-4 in region and 5-6 overall, but Hardy is upbeat.
"Now that we've seen almost everybody, we know we must do the fundamentals properly in order to win," he said. "I'm really positive we'll get to state this year."
ALTA 60, WEST JORDAN 31:Janessa McKray scored 17 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for the Hawks. Chelsea Brown chipped in with 15 points and seven boards.
BINGHAM 60, HILLCREST 33:Channel Lofthouse scored 15 points and Natalie Anderson added 13 for the Miners, who moved to 4-1 in league play and 11-1 overall. Jenner Johnson had 15 for Hillcrest.
BRIGHTON 55, JORDAN 33:Janell Casey scored 18 points to lead the Bengals to a 5-0 league mark. Rebecca Orosz led Jordan with 11.
COPPER HILLS 47, RIVERTON 45: The Grizzlies used a balanced scoring attack in earning the region road victory. Hailee Knight led Copper Hills with 11 while Riverton's Megan Lay tallied 19 points.
BOX ELDER 60, BONNEVILLE 53:Brittany Crocker led Box Elder with 17 points. The Bees are 2-1 in league play.
SKY VIEW 47, MOUNTAIN CREST 39:Julie Wood, Jeanette Pehrson and Emily Grunig had 18, 11 and 10 points, respectively for Sky View. The Bobcats held Mountain Crest to two second-quarter points, and both teams had 14 buckets but Sky View hit 10 of 14 foul shots.
PLEASANT GROVE 36, TIMPANOGOS 35:Michelle Bishop scored a driving layup with 10 seconds left to lead PG. She had 15 in the game. Beth Robertson scored 19 for Timpanogos.
MOUNTAIN VIEW 64, LONE PEAK 29:Mallary Gillespie led the Bruins to the easy win with 14 points and nine rebounds.
CARBON 60, NORTH SANPETE 33: Sophomore Brittany Pollastro scored 16 points to lead the Dinos.
DELTA 50, EMERY 33: Brittney Mecham's 19 points helped the Rabbits even their region record at 1-1.
SNOW CANYON 39, CANYON VIEW 25: Ashlee Whitehead scored 10 points and Ava Crump added seven as Snow Canyon won its 13th straight. The Warriors are 3-0 in league play.
CEDAR 63, HURRICANE 52:Cheryl Banks scored 18 points and Karli Jensen and Angela Johnson scored 13 and 10 points each for Cedar. Hurricane's Tami Hepworth led all scorers with 27.
DIXIE 52, PINE VIEW 37: The Flyers jumped out to a quick 18-10 lead and coasted past the Panthers. HeidiCarlsen led Dixie with 21 points.
BEAR RIVER 44, OGDEN 29: The Bears improved to 3-0 in region play as Courtie Woerner and Tawnie Fronk led the way in a defensive struggle.
MORGAN 70, GRANTSVILLE 26:Cheryl Blazzard's 19 points and a 27-7 second-quarter run lifted the Trojans to the easy win.
BEN LOMOND 74, TOOELE 44: The Scots easily crushed the Buffaloes as Jenny Hatch and Megan Martinez combined for 43 points.
GUNNISON 50, MANTI 48:Lacey Brown recorded the game-winning rebound and putback in the final second to help the Bulldogs snare their first region win. Melissa Frandsen led Gunnison with 18 points while McKell Ashton and Laci Higgins added 10 each.
SOUTH SEVIER 60, RICHFIELD 36:Rebecca Plotts scored a game-high 14 points with four 3-pointers and Jenna Ware and Andrea Dowell added 13 and 10 points, respectively for South Sevier. Ashley Albrecht led Richfield with 11.
BEAVER 66, ENTERPRISE 65: In a battle of Region 13 unbeatens, Beaver held off Enterprise behind balanced scoring from Toni Hershkowitz (17), Cammie Barton (16), Candice Barton (11) and Chelsea Eyre (11). Sam Moyle had 23 and Megan Hunt had 20 for Enterprise.
KANAB 58, MILLARD 45:Amanda Cooper racked up 24 points while sister Sara Cooper added 11 to lead the Cowboys past the Eagles.
NORTH SUMMIT 47, JUAB 36:Lyndsay Kirkman scored 15 points to lead North Summit to 3-1 in league play. Heather Greenhalgh had 8 for Juab.
ESCALANTE 43, BRYCE VALLEY 21: Outstanding defense and 14 points from Jennifer Lyman helped Escalante cruise past Bryce Valley.
PANGUITCH 74, MILFORD 50:Shelly Hatch had 22 points and 10 assists as Panguitch moved to 9-0 in league play.
PIUTE 37, WAYNE 35:Teri Hatch scored 15 points and Shayla Robinson added 10 for the T-Birds. Megan Jones led Wayne with nine.
REGION 16 N.
ALTAMONT 45, TABIONA 34: The Longhorns improved to 5-2 in region as Chelsie Gilbert led a balanced scoring attack with 15. Amber Pippy led Tabiona with 14 points.
DUCHESNE 63, UINTAH RIVER 45: Jolynn Ivie, Jenny Allen and LaCol Grant all scored in double figures as the Eagles routed the Warriors.
LAYTON CHRISTIAN 53, WATERFORD 38:Shantee Releford's 22 points and Megan Jones' 17 led the Eagles to the easy win over the Ravens.
SALT LAKE LUTHERAN 51, MOUNT VERNON 43:Laurel Price and Stacy Knudsvig scored 17 points each for Salt Lake Lutheran.
WEST DESERT 48, MERIDIAN 9:Kaydee Allred scored 18 for West Desert.
EAST CARBON 57, DUGWAY 47: Alaena Preston's 19 points propelled the Vikings past the Mustangs. East Carbon pulled away from Dugway with a 20-11 fourth-quarter run.
WASATCH ACADEMY 56, WENDOVER 52:Suzy McCroy tallied 16 points to lead the Tigers to their second region win. Wendover's Amber Richardson led all-scorers with 29 points.
ST. JOSEPH 67, CHRISTIAN HERITAGE 36: The Jays moved to 7-0 in league play and 13-1 overall behind 14 from Amada Chavez. Danielle Lavigne led Christian Heritage with 14.