LEHI — The Meridian Mongoose girls basketball team used a quick start to blow out the West Desert Hawks 70-27 for their third win of the season.
After the easy 3-0 start to the season, Meridian coach Travis Madsen believes his team is capable of competing with league powers Tintic and Dugway for the region title this season. Though the Mongoose were short three players for various reasons, they still proved they have plenty of depth to push the ball and punish opposing teams with their press and fast-break attack.
Kelly Hennessey put down 12 of the Mongoose' 20 first quarter points despite suffering from a bad cold in the game, and Meridian held West Desert to only four of their own points in the first period with stifling defense.
Steals and rebounds led to fast break layup opportunities the Mongoose took advantage of.
Things didn't change much as the second quarter got underway. This time it was Meridian junior Elise Robertson who led her team with eight of the 18 points in the period. The Hawks only put two points in the basket, and Meridian found themselves with an insurmountable 38-6 lead at the end of the first half.
"I was very happy with the way we started. We need to have strong starts to build our confidence," Madsen said.
The only complaint Madsen had with his team in the first half of action was its inability to knock down free throws, as the Mongoose were 0-5 heading into the locker room.
"I guess if we don't learn to shoot free throws, the other teams will just be able to foul us every time down the court and beat us that way,"
Madsen noted with a laugh as he looked at the scoreboard.
West Desert only puts seven players on the court and actually got special permission from the Utah High School Activities Association this year to combine its team with girls from Eskdale High School so that both schools would be able to field teams this year.
The second half found a little more competitive fire from the Hawks as they put 21 points in the hoop in the final 16 minutes while giving up 32.
Marci Anderson finished with 12 points in the game for West Desert, and Brittany Timm added 11 to the effort.
Robertson led all scorers with 24 points as she rebounded her way to most of her scores, and Hennessey finished with 22. Fellow starter Timise Brough added 10 points to the effort with a career scoring high.
Madsen believes his team might still be a little rusty, but he was impressed with Robertson's effort.
"She ran the floor very well on the press and got down on offense on the fast breaks," he said.