A lot can happen in the final three days of the state 1A basketball tournament, but Tabiona’s girls laid down a solid foundation Wednesday evening.
The seventh seed Lady Tigers defeated Bryce Valley’s Mustangs 53-34.
“It was a good way for us to start the tournament,” said coach Jake Fabrizio, who is in his eighth year at Tabiona. “We’re really excited to be here, and I think we’re in for a good tournament.”
Bryce Valley was a familiar foe, as the Lady Tigers had played them in close games twice earlier this season.
“Both games were within two or three points,” Fabrizio said. “They know us very well, and we know them.”
The familiarity was apparent through the first half, as the teams traded the lead back and forth. A shot by Tabiona’s Taylor Thomas put the Lady Tigers up 10-7 with seconds to go in the first quarter. Then Gracie Leech of Bryce Valley tossed in a 3-pointer to knot the game at the buzzer.
Eight minutes later the score was still tied at 17-all.
“We went in at half time and told them we have the first half jitters out,” Fabrizio said. Bryce Valley’s Leech, Haven Syrett and Shandi Syrett all hit 3-pointers in the first half, while Tabiona hadn’t hit one.
“We said let’s just go out shoot the ball, and if you’re open, knock them down,” Fabrizio said. “That’s exactly what we did.”
In the second half Tabiona’s girls drained four from beyond the perimeter. Sicily Fabrizio led the way, contributing two of the teams’ 3-pointers as well as a game-high 18 points
“We have a good core group of girls who play hard, so it was a good win for us,” Fabrizio said.
Mersadie Rhodes contributed 11 points and led the team in boards with eight. Laynie Bagley snagged five rebounds and posted nine points in the game, followed by Meycee Rhodes with six points.
Tabiona has played for the championship twice in the past four years.
“We have a tradition starting in Tabiona,” Fabrizio said. “We’re trying to make a name for Tabiona, and I think it’s happening right now.”
The next hurdle for the Lady Tigers is against Wendover during a 10 a.m. quarterfinals game Thursday at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.
Wendover, the number two seed in the tournament, defeated Green River 57-33 earlier Wednesday.