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High school basketball: Richfield, Judge will collide early in 3A girls tourney

Richfield and Judge's girls basketball teams are more than capable of winning the 3A state tournament, which gets underway this Friday. Unfortunately for one of them, they won't even make it out of the first round.

Despite a combined 35-6 regular season record, the two teams square off in a first-round game at Richfield this Friday.

"It's just a shame that someone's going to be going home that's had that good of a season," said Richfield coach Marc Peterson.

Nonetheless, despite the glossy records, neither team won their respective region, and Judge actually finished third in the difficult Region 11. Richfield finished second in Region 12 and won the right to host the game.

It's one of eight first round games this Friday that will determine the quarterfinalists for the state tournament at UVU from Feb. 25-27.

The other seven games are: Delta at Juan Diego, (Park City/ALA) at Canyon View, Ben Lomond at Wasatch, Cedar at Union, Grantsville at Emery, Juab at Morgan and Carbon at Desert Hills.

"Any coach will tell you that they're scared to death of this first game. It's a lot scarier than that first game at the state tournament," said Peterson.

No one is scared more than Richfield and Judge.

Richfield had a fantastic season finishing with a 17-3 record, with quality wins over Wasatch, Canyon View, Juan Diego and Emery. Its lone losses were to Carbon, Delta and Emery.

Judge, meanwhile, enters the state tournament with an 18-3 mark. The Bulldogs' most impressive wins might've come out of state as they won their bracket at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix. In region play, however, Judge dropped two games to Morgan and another to Juan Diego.

Of the eight first round games, four involve teams with winning records.

The next most intriguing game is Delta (13-5) at Juan Diego (16-5), another Region 11 vs. Region 12 showdown. Juan Diego split the season series with Judge, and was the only team to beat top-ranked Morgan. Delta split the season series with Richfield, and played several other tough 3A teams close this season.

The other intriguing first-round games involving teams with winning records are Ben Lomond (12-9) at Wasatch (13-8) and Carbon (10-9) at Desert Hills (11-8).

Another potentially interesting game is Juab (9-10) at Morgan (20-1). On paper it looks like Morgan should cruise, but the Trojans enter the state tournament without leading-scorer Ashley Garfield, whose season is likely over with a broken ankle.

Morgan coach Brad Matthews is confident the rest of his players can pick up the slack.

"We have great basketball players here on Morgan, they know how to win. They're preparing well, they work hard," he said. "We just need to have some good shooting games."

e-mail: jedward@desnews.com

3A girls tourney pairings

Complete 3A girls basketball tournament pairings are on D7.