RICHFIELD — In a rematch of their preseason matchup back on Dec. 21, nearly every outcome was the same for the Enterprise Lady Wolverines and the Gunnison Lady Bulldogs as Enterprise blew past Gunnison 38-18 to advance to the 2A championship.
Both teams got off to a slow and sloppy start, but Enterprise was able to come together and power through its struggles in the second quarter.
The Lady Wolverines opened up a 12-5 run in the second quarter to double up the Lady Bulldogs and take a 16-8 advantage at recess.
“We played hard, but we struggled a little bit in the first half and came out flat,” Enterprise head coach Lance Jones said after the game. “We had a very emotional win last night, so it was hard to come back. They were a little lackadaisical in the first half, but I think we finally settled down and just played our type of basketball.”
Enterprise regrouped at the half, came out in the third quarter with urgency and successfully extended its lead to double digits heading into the final eight minutes of play.
The Lady Wolverines’ swarming defense kept Gunnison relatively at bay while the home team looked to add to its lead. Enterprise forced the Lady Bulldogs into 20 turnovers and held them to a disappointing 15 percent shooting from the field to pick up the semifinal victory Friday afternoon at the Sevier Valley Center.
“Our defense really stepped up today. They played very, very hard,” Jones said. “We played our zone and we’ve got a lot of length, which causes a lot of disruption for a lot of other people. It’s been a long time since we have played that type of defense.”
However, Enterprise didn’t display the same success on the offensive side of the ball.
The Lady Wolverines struggled with their shots throughout the game, shooting just 36 percent from the field while only one player scored in double figures in the lopsided win.
Despite its poor shooting performance, the home team’s intensity and stinginess on defense and their refusal to give up kept them on top throughout the game and provided them with many high-percentage shots in the paint.
“They (Enterprise) have a lot of heart,” Jones said of his team’s effort. “They don’t quit; they keep fighting. That is one thing I am really proud of the girls for.”
Riley Lyman netted a game-high 12 points while also securing nine rebounds to power the Lady Wolverines in the double-digit victory.
Enterprise ended the game on a 14-6 run to drive the final nail in the coffin and stamp the Lady Wolverines’ ticket to the 2A championship game, where they will take on North Sevier at 5 p.m. Friday.
“We’ve just got to play our type of basketball again (Friday night),” added Jones. “We’ve got to play our defense, sit down, and we’ve got to rebound the basketball. We’ve just got to control the boards and take care of the basketball.”
Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications and has been a part-time sports reporter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since October 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724