The Wayne Badgers held off a second-half rally attempt by Monument Valley Thursday night during the 1A girls basketball quarterfinals, taking a 63-55 win.
“I’m super proud of these guys and everything they do,” said coach Kerry Stevens, who is in his third year at the helm of Wayne’s program. “It started out really good, we were running the offense well at the first of the game.”
Wayne built up a 21-6 edge in the first quarter, with AnDee VanDyke hitting back-to-back 3-pointers. VanDyke would total 18 points through the game.
The Badgers were able to keep the pressure on, closing the half with a 39-21 advantage.
But Monument Valley started using a full-court press and closed the 18-point halftime gap.
Alyah Blackwater led the charge for Monument Valley, racking up 18 points. Raemi Nez helped out as well, pulling down eight rebounds and contributing 11 points to the effort. Naveah Wilson hit four shots from the field on her way to 10 points for the Cougars.
Monument Valley took its second lead of the game with 2:42 left to play.
“When they’re playing that aggressive, it’s hard to do what you want to do,” Stevens said. “You just have to trust in each other and in what got us here. We just kind of got away from that with the emotions of the game and the intensity of the atmosphere.”
While the press worked for Monument Valley, it came with a cost as the Cougars lost three of their starters to foul trouble in the final two minutes.
Meanwhile, Wayne was able to buckle down and clutch in nine foul shots to ice the win.
“It came down to free throws at the end, and we started making those when we needed it,” Stevens said. “On the defensive side, we lost them a few times, but I feel defensively we did a good job.”
Hadlee Taylor and Emma Hallows both scored 10 points and pulled down five rebounds for Wayne.
The Badgers came into the tournament as the fourth seed and are now set to take on Rich in the semifinals Friday.
Rich had the top seed heading into this year’s tourney and beat Panguitch 36-27 earlier in the day.
It will be the first meeting of the two teams this season.
“It’s been a good tournament so far. We’ll see how it goes,” Stevens said. “Our girls have been a super cohesive team this year. They have each others’ backs and they look out for each others’ interest. They are one big family, and they work for each other.”