TAYLORSVILLE — Coasting to victory isn't part of the Copper Hills girls basketball team's mentality and it showed during its 57-31 win over Layton in the quarterfinal round of the 6A playoffs on Thursday.
Up 38-21 entering the final eight minutes the Grizzlies didn't let their foot up on the accelerator, but pushed it down a little harder.
“We always want to stay aggressive no matter what the situation is,” said Copper Hills coach ben Morley. “We had the opportunity to get some other players in…so it was good to see some of the other players come in, and they don’t know any other speed than to just play and stay aggressive.”
The result of the aggressive mentality was a 10-0 run to start the fourth, with Breaunna Gillen providing the final six points in the run. Gillen ended the game with a game-high 14 points, and was particularly effective in the second half, where she scored 12.
During the third quarter Copper Hills saw its biggest struggles, as Layton's press helped hold the Grizzlies to just seven points scored. It was midway through when Morley implored Gillen to take control, which she's apt to do.
“Scoring-wise, she’s our leader, and she’s also the most under-control player we have offensively,” Morley said. “So when the ball is in her hands it settles everyone else down out there. One of her greatest strengths is she’s never rushed.”
Leading the way out of the gate for Copper Hills was Lenisi Fineanganofo and Taela Laufiso, who had 10 and nine first-half points, respectively. Their efforts led to a 33-13 halftime lead aided by a dominant second quarter, where the Grizzlies outscored the Lancers 18-4.
As always, Copper Hills play was triggered by a stellar all-around defensive effort which has become its hallmark this season.
“That’s always part of the plan. It’s just the nature of our team and trying to play to our strengths is to play aggressively,” Morley said of the team defense. “Obviously to do that you have to take some chances, but our athleticism on defense kind of allows us to cover up mistakes that we sometimes make.”
Layton was led by daisy Barker, who scored a team-high eight points.
With the win Copper Hills advances to the semifinal round where it will take on Bingham.