Box score

The Springville Red Devils continued their quest to repeat as state champions with a 51-30 victory over the Olympus Titans in the quarterfinals on Monday.

The Titans came into the game with the highest ranked offense in 5A as they averaged 58.2 points per game, but despite being undersized, the Red Devils were able to limit them to just 30 total points, including 11 in the first half.

Offensively, Springville was led by Brooke Pennington, who started off the game by making a 3-pointer before Ashleigh Mousser hit a layup to give the Red Devils an early five-point lead, one they would never give up.

“We really used our early momentum to get off to a quick start. Knowing we had the lead early, we kept our heads up and were confident,” Pennington said.

The Red Devils terrorized their opponent in the first half with crafty playmaking. Kayla Porray recorded two steals, and in total the Titans had 10 turnovers.

On top of that, Springville hauled in seven offensive rebounds compared to just one for the Titans. By the time halftime had rolled around, Springville held a 28-14 advantage in field goal attempts, a large deficit no matter how many of them went in.

“We pride ourselves on our defense, especially aggressive defense, because we are undersized, we have to compensate for that,” Springville coach Holli Averett said.

“Our girls have bought into what we are trying to do. Working hard on defense comes with opportunities, whether it be off a turnover or getting a good rebound. Our post players work hard and work early.”

Things broke open in the second period as Springville outscored the Titans 12-1. Pennington continued her hot start, finishing the half with 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting.

Ellie Esplin knocked down her third triple to push the lead to a dozen just over halfway through the second quarter. The Red Devils would take a 16-point lead into halftime.

Olympus wasn’t able to rally later in the game as Mousser stepped up her game defensively, given the responsibility to guard Alyssa Blanck, who averages nearly 19 points per game.

Mousser’s tough defense all game limited Blanck to just 15 points, most of which came in the second half.

“We had a game plan, we knew what we needed to do and we executed as a team,” Mousser said. “We went up against an amazing opponent. They were really hard to guard. It was a good push to see where we were at.”

Springville’s entire season has been defined by its depth, with different players stepping up in key moments as they fulfill their different roles the best they can.

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Numerous different players have led the Red Devils in scoring throughout the year, while others have taken on difficult defensive assignments.

Pennington talked about the importance of the post players, saying, “Katie (Durfey) and Ashleigh, they work their butts off and are amazing. We wouldn’t be anything without those two.”

Moments later, without knowing what Pennington had said, Mousser brought up the importance of their guard play, saying, “We all have different roles. The guards kill it every game. They always put the effort in. The post players are smaller, so we have to figure out different ways to make the game harder for our opponents.”

Springville has now won 15 straight games after a 5-5 start. The Red Devils will look to make their third straight championship game when they take on Bountiful in the semifinals on Wednesday afternoon.

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