Teya Sidberry put an exclamation mark on her historic career on Saturday night.
Sidberry — the state’s career leading scorer — scored 27 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and helped her team navigate a brutal first half offensively as it rallied for 43-37 win over Richfield at Weber State for its first state title in school history.
Sidberry broke Utah’s career scoring record back on Feb. 3, and ultimately extended it to 2,534 points in her final high school game on Saturday at Weber State University.
The records would’ve all felt a bit hollow without the championship.
“This team means so much to me, and I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without them, so (the championship) means so much more than anything,” said Sidberry, who has signed to play at the University of Utah next season.
Sidberry finished her career with 150 more points than the second player on the career scoring list, American Fork’s Julie Krommenhoek.
Sidberry scored 18 of her 27 points in the second half as Judge Memorial collectively woke up at halftime after shooting just 20% in the first half.
“Shots that we’re used to and I’m used to making weren’t falling at all in the first half,” Sidberry said.
While Judge struggled with early-game jitters and missed shots, Richfield got off to a fantastic start, as almost all its shots seemed to drop early.
Richfield made four 3-pointers in the first quarter, including two from Hallie Janes, as it jumped out to a 16-3 late in the quarter.
Judge’s defense dominated the next 10 minutes, however.
Richfield didn’t score in the second quarter, but still led 16-13 at the break as Judge’s offense continued to struggle from the field.
That defensive effort helped Judge keep it close until the team started to play more confidently offensively after halftime.
“Once we really started focusing play by play, we were able to really dial in and play our game,” said Sidberry, who said she thought the team was too worried about the championship early on instead of just playing basketball.
After having just nine points at halftime, Sidberry gradually started finding ways she could score against Richfield’s stingy defense in the second half.
It started with crashing the glass. Judge tied the game at 16 just 17 seconds into the third quarter on a Sidberry 3-point play after an offensive rebound, and a minute later, Marika Collins did the same thing, giving Judge its first lead since 2-0.
Sidberry finished with 13 points in the third as Judge Memorial extended its lead to 31-26.
Richfield, however, wasn’t about to go quietly. It opened the fourth on a 7-0 run with a Rebecca Poulsen 3-pointer capping the stretch, giving the Wildcats the 33-31 lead with 5:10 remaining in the game.
It was the role players, not Sidberry, who helped Judge regain the lead for good over the next two minutes.
Collins tied the game on a layup at the 4:40 mark, and then Esther Analjok scored her only points of the game on a 3-pointer with 3:27 remaining.
From there, Judge’s defense shut things down, not allowing Richfield a field goal over the final five minutes of the fourth quarter to put the finishing touches on the elusive state championship.
Perhaps the biggest key to getting over the hump was rebounding, as Judge Memorial outrebounded Richfield 43-25 and grabbed 22 offensive rebounds. It led to a 15-3 edge in second-chance points.
“I talked to my team about if we can get the 50-50 balls and rebound, we’ll come out victorious. We always focus on that to a certain point, but we’ve been blowing people out so we really haven’t had to focus on that too much,” said Judge coach Josh Pike.
He said he takes great pride in helping this team win the first girls basketball state title in school history.
“To be able to give them the first championship means a lot to me,” Pike said.
The excitement of the moment was obvious in the final seconds as Sidberry threw the ball in the air about five seconds prematurely to celebrate.
Then as the first player up to cut down the nets after the trophy presentation, she had no idea how much of the net to cut down. She eventually figured it out with coaxing from her teammates.
Deseret News 3A girls all-tournament team
MVP — Teya Sidberry, Judge Memorial
Marika Collins, Judge Memorial
Rebeccca Poulsen, Richfield
Nicole Willardson, Richfield
Janel Blazzard, Morgan
Bianca Silva, Layton Christian