Box Elder 59, Olympus 55

Box Elder and Olympus played the late game at the 5A girls state basketball tournament Saturday.

The fourth-seeded Bees survived emotional and physical exhaustion, a series of important officiating calls and the dynamic play of Olympus forward Joss Baker to earn a 59-55 win at the Jon M. Huntsman Center to advance to Tuesday’s semifinals.

Katrina Anderson scored 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, but it was the Bees’ ability to force turnovers — 26 of them — that made the difference and gave them another shot at Region 5 foe Bountiful.

“You make it to the final eight and this is what you have to expect,” said Box Elder coach Aaron Dooley. “We did a good job forcing turnovers and got out to run. We don’t have many players who can dazzle you with offense, so we have to rely on our defense to make things happen.”

Box Elder led most of the game, but No. 12 Olympus certainly had its chances to keep its “Cinderella” story going.

Olympus actually built a seven-point margin in the first quarter, and the Bees came back to take a nine-point margin in the third period.

Box Elder held a one-point lead — 56-55 — with two minutes remaining when both defenses came alive.

Olympus suffered five turnovers after that and the Bees had three. In between, Anderson made a couple of free throws. Then, after another Olympus miscue, she had a chance for a layup and missed it, but Madi Thurgood rebounded and was fouled.

Those last two minutes actually lasted a lot longer because they were filled with a series of timeouts while both teams tried calls that didn’t work.

For the Bees, their passes inside were often intercepted by — who else? — Baker, who had six steals.

Olympus couldn’t convert due to seven steals by Thurgood and six by Barber.

“It wasn’t a pretty game but that’s how it has been for us all season,” said Dooley, whose team improved to 20-5 overall.

Ashland Wight and Jay Lee Chappell added 11 points for Box Elder, while Baker had 16 points and 11 boards for Olympus and Kelly Trabanino had 10.

Bountiful 62, Brighton 30

When the Bountiful Redhawks defeated Brighton 54-51 back on Dec. 8, coach Joel Burton’s team was not at full strength, and he wasn’t sure how strong it would eventually be.

Many of the Redhawks are multi-sport athletes and the volleyball squad played deep into the postseason, so they had missed many practices.

A lot has happened since.

Brighton got a look at Bountiful 2.0 Saturday at the Huntsman Center, and was overwhelmed and impressed.

Taylor Harvey scored 18 points, Malika Satuala had 15 and Adelaide Stevenson 14 as the top seed buried the Bengals 62-30 in a 5A state tourney quarterfinal.

The game was never in doubt. The Redhawks jumped to a 19-2 lead and kept extending it. Bountiful shot a respectable 42% from the field and nailed 8-of-17 3-pointers. They also badly outrebounded the Bengals.

“Really, this is not the way I expected this game to go,” said Burton. “These kids aren’t volleyball players anymore. They’re basketball players, and they’re playing like it. They’re really talented and next month they’ll move on to something else (another sport).”

Nearly three months ago, Bountiful also jumped on Brighton but lost a 16-6 lead, so this time Burton remained nervous even though his team had one of its best outings in a 22-3 season.

While the Redhawks had plenty of offensive firepower, it was the defense that especially shined. This time, Brighton made just 9-of-49 shots (18%). The Bengals were 4 of 22 in the fist half and things never improved.

“Keeping our lead was really our emphasis after the first quarter,” Burton said. “We are such a better team than we were back then.

We started the season with two losses (to 6A opponents Westake and Lone Peak) and some people started getting on me. I just told them to be patient and we would turn it around.”

It didn’t take long, as Bountiful has lost just once sine. Brighton, meanwhile, finished at 18-7. The Bengals were led by Olivia Stephens (12 points) and Sophie Nielsen (10).

Springville 45, Timpview 37

Tradition is an important part of the Springville girls basketball program.

In coach Holly Averett’s five years at the helm, the Red Devils have proudly claimed two state championships and have challenged every other year.

They didn’t let this season’s 4-17 regular season record dissuade them when they walked on to the floor Saturday at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Sami DelLamas scored 12 points and Brynn Johnson had 11 as the 22nd-seeded Devils downed No. 3 Timpview 45-37 at the 5A state tournament to keep their dream of another crown alive.

Averett was pleased that this group of players got the experience of playing in a college arena because it will be helpful when they return for their next game — again as an underdog — against No. 2 Wasatch on Tuesday.

“We’re peaking at the right time,” said Averett, whose squad won its third straight after finishing tied for last place in Region 7. “I couldn’t tell you who are top scorers are because it’s different every game. We take turns stepping up.”

Averett said Springville’s recent good fortune rarely happened during the season. The Devils were 0-4 in games decided by five points or less, including a 45-43 defeat to Timpview (the T-Birds won the other matchup by 16).

However, the Devils reversed a close early season loss to Cyprus 56-53 in the tourney’s first round, then upset another region opponent, Maple Mountain, in the second round, and then did it again here in the quarterfinals.

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High school girls basketball: 6A/5A/4A/3A/2A/1A state tournament scores and schedules
High school boys basketball: Highland, Olympus, Alta, Timpview advance to 5A semifinals

Springville jumped on the Thunderbirds right away, claiming a 10-4 lead, and kept its opponent uncomfortable by turning back several rallies.

The margin was 23-18 at halftime, then the T-Birds finally grabbed the lead briefly in the third period behind Lina Ballin (13 points) and Aiaiaga Galea’i (10).

However, they had too many turnovers and were unable to make shots outside.

Timpview, in fact, missed all 13 of its 3-point attempts. Once Springville regained the lead in the fourth period, the T-Birds didn’t have an answer and Devils freshman Hattie Templeman made a pair of treys and Bella Esplin, Miller Thompson and Hallie Hall each made free throws to send Timpview home, despite its 18-6 record.

“I really liked how we kept our composure,” said Averett. “We seemed to be more comfortable and it was nice to see that.”


Wasatch 55, West 50

It has been 15 years since the Wasatch girls have won a state basketball championship. Coach Audrey Hull and her team took another step forward Saturday to get back to those glory days.

Peyton Behnke scored 16 points and Asley Garner had 12 and a game-high 15 rebounds as the Wasps held off West in 5A quarterfinal action at the University of Utah’s Jon M. Huntsman Center.

With the win, the second-seeded Wasps advanced to Tuesday’s semifinals, where they will face the No. 22 seed, Springville.

Even though her squad won its 20th game, Hull can’t look past the Red Devils. That was the same message she preached about West, too.

“I’m really grateful to just be here,” she said. “I was happy with the way we came out strong and got that lead, but I’ve been a coach for a long time and one thing you know about a state tournament game is that the other team is always going to come back.

“You can never get comfortable.”

Wasatch led for much of this game, helped by the inside strength of the 6-foot-2 Garner, a second team all-state pick last year who is averaging 18 points and 14 rebounds per game this season.

West had some success in keeping her from getting into a rhythm by using a hustling defense and plenty of fouls, but Wasatch has some depth.

Hull said she was happy with the play of defensive specialist Kate Miller, who was also an offensive threat with nine points. Danielle Garber also had a good game off the bench with five points and three rebounds.

Although Wasatch was in control, the game got particularly interesting in the final quarter. After Wasatch built a 13-point lead, the seventh-seeded Panthers rallied by going at Wasatch’s strength.

Fina Tuha (14 points), Kaydence Falatea (11) and Kylee Falatea (10) led a rally that got the Panthers within four, but while the West fans made as much noise as they could, Garner hit a shot inside and then nabbed a missed West attempt to end the threat.

West actually outrebounded the Wasps, but its shooting woes (32%) were too much to overcome, and many of the Panthers’ baskets were bunched together in the last seven minutes.

With the loss, West ended another impressive season. Under coach Olosaa (Junior) Solovi, the Panthers took third in Region 6 and ended with a 16-7 overall mark.