The Kanab High School girls basketball team held off a surging South Sevier team Saturday evening to claim the 2A crown in a 47-37 battle.
It’s the first time Kanab’s girls have taken home the state trophy since 1992.
“We’ve been here before. We needed to win one of these,” said coach Clint Glover. “It’s good to get it done.”
Heading into the game, South Sevier was a dark horse with a lot of boost behind it after knocking off teams with higher seeds.
“They had momentum, and I’m impressed with the improvements they’ve made through the season,” Glover said. “They gave us everything we wanted. We had several girls who had to step up and make baskets.”
South Sevier’s girls keyed in on Kanab’s outside attack, allowing just two 3-pointers in the first stanza.
“When you have to rely on the 3 like we do, you have nights like that,” Glover said.
As the game progressed, Kanab’s outside shooting thawed as it hit a total of nine downtowners, including four from senior Grayce Glover and three from her classmate Tyler Nez.
“Once we relaxed they came back,” coach Glover said. “Grayce broke her nose earlier in the season and had to play through a mask, so she’s just getting back into it.”
The first quarter ended in a 10-all knot, but thanks to a two of Grayce Glover’s 3-pointers and another from sophomore Anna Cutler, Kanab was able to jump ahead and take a 22-17 lead into the halftime break.
“We tried to rely on our our defense and we played well enough,” coach Glover said of the second half. “If you don’t have that girl who can break down with the dribble, you’re in trouble. We have two, and that’s really nice.”
Coach Glover said Grayce Glover and Cutler were key to Kanab’s success this year thanks to their ball handling skills and lethal shooting.
“Our offense wasn’t as on tonight, so we had to rely on the defense,” said Grayce, who led all scoring players with a total of 19 points.
“Not everything went in, and we had a hard time getting in the paint with their defense. We had to just grit it out in order to beat a really good South Sevier team.”
Kanab wasn’t able to rest for a second as the Rams kept the pressure on throughout the game.
“They had some really good defense and really great offense,” Cutler said. “Sometimes if felt like they couldn’t miss a shot.”
Cutler said keeping the team’s composure was what helped them come out on top.
As the final minutes ticked down, Kanab was able to widen the gap to 10 from from the foul-line.
Glover wound down the final 10 seconds of the clock by dribbling the ball near midcourt. That’s when South Sevier’s Aspen Okerlund embraced her with a congratulatory hug.
Okerlund led the Rams with 13 points, followed by teammate Alexa Robinson with 12.
“They’re such fun girls to play against,” Grayce said. “It’s nice to play classy girls who will support you as well as compete.”
“It was a tough game and a great team win honestly,” said Nez, who totaled nine points in the win, overcoming shots not dropping for her in the first half.
“I had my family up in the stands who helped teach me all this stuff,” Nez said, adding that keeping her family in mind helped calm her nerves in the second half as she was able to get the shots she needed.
Taylor Janes posted 10 points for Kanab.
Desret News 2A Girls All-Tournament Team
MVP: Grayce Glover, Kanab
Aspen Okerlund, South Sevier
Anna Cutler, Kanab
Tyler Nez, Kanab
Alexa Robinson, South Sevier
Aubreee Lunt, Millard