The top two seeds in Thursday’s 3A quarterfinals at Weber State, No. 1 Judge Memorial and No. 2 Richfield, advanced to the semifinals, but No. 3 and No. 4 weren’t so fortunate as No. 5 Morgan and No. 6 Layton Christian pulled off the mild upsets.
Here’s a recap of the four semifinal games.
Layton Christian 43, Grantsville 40
It took them a few minutes, but once Layton Christian Academy shook off the jitters, it began to show on the floor.
By a final score of 43-40, the No. 6-seeded Eagles knocked off No. 3 seed Grantsville Thursday afternoon at the Dee Events Center to secure a spot in the 3A semifinals.
LCA trailed by as much as eight points in the first half, but rallied in the second half, outscoring the Cowboys 28-20 in the second half.
“I have one returning player from last year’s team, so coming out here at Weber State their eyes were a bit big because it was a first time experience for them,” Layton Christian head coach Jeremy Jones said.
“We were a bit shell-shocked, but we hung in there. It could’ve been 35-15 at halftime it would’ve been over against a team like (Grantsville).”
Defense was the key for the Eagles as they held Grantsville’s offense — which came into the game averaging over 60 points a game — to 40 points on 30% shooting.
Playing stifling defense hasn’t been LCA’s strong suit of late, according to Jones, but he was proud of how they performed on that side of the court.
“The last five games our defense has been absolutely awful,” Jones said. “Tonight we held a very fundamental, hard-fighting team to 40 points. Our defense won us that game, we struggled offensively but our defense was the best it’s been in a long time.”
LCA limited Grantsville’s leading scorer McKenzie Allen to just 12 points on 26% shooting after the junior guard scored 20 or more in both of the teams’ regular season matchups.
The Eagles shot just under 40% themselves, but when they did manage to score, it was because Grantsville struggled to slow down their dribble penetration.
Bianca Silva and Mariana Cubero each scored 12 points for the Eagles — all of which came in or near the paint.
Grantsville’s Avery Allred led all scorers with 16 points.
Richfield 49, Union 37
The second-seeded Wildcats looked the part in their quarterfinal matchup with the Union Cougars.
Never trailing and leading by as much as 18, Richfield dominated their way into the semifinals with a 49-37 win over the tenth-seeded Cougars.
Richfield showed up early, especially on the defensive end, as it held Union to only two points in the second quarter and nine total first half points.
“Our defense was incredible in the first half,” Richfield head coach Marc Peterson said. “Our first half defense performance dictated the rest of the game for us and that’s the way we like it. We pride ourselves on our defense.”
The Wildcats forced 24 Union turnovers and limited it to 30% shooting from the field.
Credit can be given to the Cougars, who trailed by 16 at halftime, for fighting hard to get back into the game. Union outscored Richfield 28-24 in the second half, and though it wasn’t enough to ever truly threaten the Wildcats, the effort was certainly commendable.
“One thing about that Union team, they just fought from the opening tip until the closing buzzer and we knew that about them, but we turned it into an ugly game in the second half,” Peterson said.
Richfield’s Kate Robinson scored a game-high 15 points while also finishing with three assists and five steals. Nicole Willardson also chipped in 12 points for the Wildcats.
The win was redemptive for Richfield, who was bounced by Carbon in the quarterfinal round last season.
Judge Memorial 57, Carbon 33
You know you’re a formidable player when 27 points seems like just another day at the office.
That’s how many points the state’s all-time leading scorer, Teya Sidberry, finished with for Judge in its 57-33 quarterfinal win over Carbon. Sidberry also recorded 10 rebounds, five steals and two blocks.
The scoring output was actually below average for the Judge senior, who averages 34 points per game.
“Teya is — and I hate to say it — a once in lifetime kind of player for our team,” Judge head coach Joshawa Pike said.
“I still don’t think we’ve seen the best of her. She has some things that she needs to work on, and as soon as all the light switches turn on, she’s going to be one dangerous young lady.”
Though the final score indicates a breezy victory for the Bulldogs, it didn’t always look that way.
The Dinos were right there with Judge through most of the first half. The Bulldogs led by only four late in the second quarter before a quick 5-0 run allowed them to take a nine point lead into the halftime break.
Pike said that relatively slow starts have been an issue for his team all season and that it’s something that needs to change as the competition gets stiffer each time they advance.
“We started rough, I don’t know what it is, but we have to be dialed in and more disciplined at the start of the game,” Pike said. “I hate to say this, but maybe two years ago we would’ve lost a game like tonight, but these girls have matured and they showed some heart.”
Like they have in all their slow starts this season, the Bulldogs flipped a switch in the second half and took control, limiting Carbon to just 12 second half points while scoring 27 points of their own.
Judge was a plus-15 in the turnover margin, leading to a 25-12 advantage in the points off turnovers category.
In addition to Sidberry’s strong performance, Judge was boosted by senior Marika Collins, who finished with 12 points, four assists and two steals.
Carbon was led by sophomore Amiah Timothy, who recorded 20 points, four rebounds and three steals.
Judge improved to 24-0 with the win and it will hope that number increases to 25 tomorrow as it vies for a chance to appear in the 3A championship game for the second time in three years.
Morgan 45, Emery 42
The final 3A quarterfinal of the night kept those who stayed up for it on the edge of their seats.
Thanks to four clutch free throws from Morgan senior Janel Blazzard in the final 35 seconds of the game, the Trojans came out with a narrow 45-42 victory over Emery to advance into the semifinals.
Morgan head coach Sterling Mack said he expected nothing less from Blazzard, who he called the team’s “engine.”
“She’s built to play this game,” Mack said. “I knew she was going to make the shots, she knew she was going to make the shots, her team knew it and I think the gym knew it.”
Blazzard finished with a team-high 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal.
After she made the third and fourth free throws, Emery had just under eight seconds to potentially equalize, but Morgan came up with a stop as Addie Lester’s 3-point attempt fell short.
The win for Morgan avenges their season-opening defeat to the Spartans nearly 100 days ago.