COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Any team preparing to play the Brighton girls basketball team knows that beating the Bengals means containing 5A's leading scorer, point guard Vanessa Hutson.
But Friday night the Alta Hawks found out that sometimes it isn't the weapons you know about that will kill you.
"They had some players step up big tonight," said Alta coach Anita Rowland after the No. 1 Hawks lost a thriller 46-43 at fifth-ranked Brighton. "And I think that made the game."
The player she was referring to was junior guard Megan Murdock, who hit two huge three-pointers in the second half as Brighton stormed back into the game after trailing by as many as 13 points. The second of her long-range jumpers tied the score at 37-37 with five minutes left in the fourth quarter and gave the Bengals momentum that they never relinquished.
Murdock finished with 10 points, all in the second half, and said her teammates positive attitudes helped her overcome a discouraging first-half.
"I just told myself to stay up," she said. "I was getting kind of down, because of stupid mistakes . . . I guess I found my shot."
Brighton coach Jim Gresh said the Bengals sluggish start was due in part to nerves.
"We were a little nervous," he said. "It's Alta. We really haven't seen anything like them. It feels good (to win), but we've still got games to play. I told the girls to stay in the present and take it a game at a time. We're concentrating on Hillcrest now."
Murdock's second-half perimeter shooting may have evened the score, but it was really the second quarter when Brighton began to wrestle the game from the state's No. 1 5A team.
"It was just that four minute period in the second quarter," Rowland said. "We didn't score but two points. They went into half-time thinking this was their game . . . They played a very disciplined second-half."
The Hawks stayed within striking distance and actually had a chance to tie the game when Janessa McKray grabbed a rebound with 14 seconds left in the game. Lisa Crump tried to drive to the basket, but the shot went astray. Teammate Deanne Hanchett grabbed the rebound but her shot bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
Rowland said the team learned some lessons in the loss, including that when they're fouling to stop they clock they need to be more aggressive.
"They haven't attended the Rand Rasmussen foul-platooning school," she said tongue-in-cheek referring to region rival Bingham High's coach. Alta's Jill Cameron had a solid game with 14 points, and teammate Janessa McKray grabbed 9 rebounds and scored 8 points.
And Vanessa Hutson actually was a factor with three steals, six rebounds and a game-high 15 points.
FREMONT 40, NORTHRIDGE 28: Fremont moved to 1-1 in Region 1 and 8-2 overall with a solid win over Northridge.
WEBER 49, DAVIS 34:Amanda Dabb scored 16 points to lead the Warriors over the Darts.
CLEARFIELD 56, VIEWMONT 43: The Falcons improved to 3-0 in Region 1 and 7-4 overall led by Haley Hall's 21 points.
JORDAN 64, COPPER HILLS 51: The Beatdiggers pushed their record to 7-3 overall and 2-1 in Region 2 with the victory over the Grizzlies.
RIVERTON 65, HILLCREST 31: Riverton thrashed Hillcrest to get its second Region 2 win. For the Huskies, Ashley Barber recorded nine rebounds.
BINGHAM 33, WEST JORDAN 30:Kris Hymas led the Miners in a low scoring battle with 15 points.
KEARNS 50, GRANGER 34: Three players had atleast 11 points for Kearns.
TAYLORSVILLE , SKYLINE :Chelsea Robinson scored 18 points Shawnee Slade added 12 rebounds as the Warriors edged out the Eagles.
COTTONWOOD 56, HUNTER 44:Stacey Little and Latisha Hensley scored 15 apiece as the Colts improved to 2-0 in Region 3.
CYPRUS 65, WEST 45:Monica Miller scored 20 as Cyprus cruised past West.
EAST 43, BOUNTIFUL 33:Libby Cannon's 13 points helped the Leopards defeat the Braves for East's second victory in Region 5.
OLYMPUS 45, HIGHLAND 41:Tracee Kennington notched 20 points to lift the Titans past the Rams.
MURRAY 49, WOODS CROSS 34:Melinda Johnsen's 14 points helped the Spartans improve to 3-0 in Region 5.
CARBON 67, NORTH SANPETE 57: Tied after the third quarter the Dinos outscored North Sanpete by 10 in the fourth quarter for the final differential. Morgan Warburton led Carbon with 21 points, including two three-pointers.
UNION 57, GRANITE 34: The Cougars remained undefeated in Region 10 play with the win over the Farmers. Uninon was led by Mari Riser's 17 points.
JUDGE MEMORIAL 56, PARK CITY 55: Despite a late surge, the Miners could complete the comeback and dropped the Region 10 contest.
For the Bulldogs, Erin Terry scored 15 points. Grace Crandall notched 17 points for Park City.
WASATCH 39, UINTAH 34: Despite not scoring in the third quarter, Wasatch hung on for the win. Kelsi Remund scored all 12 of her points in the first half and Liz Turner added 10. Maggie Bartel led Uintah with 14 points.
ENTERPRISE 40, MONTICELLO 32:Krystal Simkins paced the Wolves with 16 points and Kaydee Woods added 11. Monticello's Rachel Randall led all scorers with 21 points in a losing effort.
NORTH SUMMIT 56, GRAND 36: Three players scored in double figures for North Summit in a game that was never in doubt.
REGION 16 S.
WHITEHORSE 76, GREEN RIVER 39: Whitehorse freshman Derica Dickson led the way with 21.
MANILA 63, DUGWAY 23:Kaylyn Reed scored 22 to lead all scorers.
LONE PEAK 44, AMERICAN FORK 29:Raquel Cramer, Larissa Laycock and Emily Webster all scored double figures to lead Lone Peak to another win.
WAYNE 50, KANAB 45: Wayne pushed its record to 11-3 overall with the win. Magon Jones paced Wayne with 14 points.