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High school girls basketball: Warriors cruise past Cougars, keep title hopes high

TAYLORSVILLE — Senior night for the Taylorsville Warriors started off with a bang and finished with the Warriors' girls basketball team one win away from a three-way tie for the Region 3 championship.

After trouncing the Cougars from Kearns 61-42, the Warriors are now turning their attention to the most important game of their season at Bingham on Feb. 16, when they'll try to take down the tough-as-nails Miners for the second time this season, thereby creating a three-way tie for first place in their rough region race and a chance at sneaking away with a No. 1 seed in the state tournament.

Though the game against Bingham is just a future footnote at the moment, the Taylorsville girls were very busy celebrating a hard-fought blowout of the Cougars that was actually a 60-30 game at one point late in the third quarter before the Warriors went deep to the bench and Christian Lopez got a hot hand for Kearns.

Taylorsville didn't want the Cougars to get any ideas of an upset in the first quarter, and they had a huge incentive to make their three seniors go out with a bang on their home court, so they did something not every defense can manage: they pitched a shutout in the first quarter.

After one period, the score was 16-0, and Taylorsville's Saane Lo'amanu had dominated the offensive action, scoring nine of her team's first 12 points. But her offensive firepower wasn't the story of the quarter, or even of the game. It was all about the Warriors' tough defense.

"I'm a defensive coach. They came out very intense defensively and came out to make the seniors look good, but then (Kearns) took it at us in the second quarter," said Taylorsville coach Jace Hymas.

Yes, the Cougars did play a strong second quarter, actually outscoring the Warriors 17-13 in the period, but they couldn't continue their offensive production into the second half.

"We went back to playing intense man defense. We fulfilled our assignments as a defense and stepped up to help again. We had to step up and play better as a team, and we did," said Hymas, who was especially proud of his three seniors, who combined for 43 of his team's 61 points.

Senior Alyssa Moncrief picked up a career-high 15 points for the Warriors, and senior Micaela Seaman added eight points.

"That's 23 points that we do not normally have," said Hymas, who was proud of all three seniors. Team leader Lo'amanu added a typical 20 points for the Warriors.

Sophomore Whitney Mitchell added her average with 10 points in the game.

Hymas was proud of a defensive effort that led to much of his offense, with fast-break points and secondary break points coming at all stages of the game.

And it was only at the end that Lopez picked up three straight treys for the Cougars in scoring her nine points to lead Kearns. Elisa Seumanu added eight, Micaelee Orton finished with seven, and Mary Luna added six in a rough game all around for the Cougars.