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High school girls basketball: Teya Sidberry saves her best for last, sends Judge Memorial to 3A championship game

The Judge Memorial Bulldogs celebrate during the 3A girls basketball semifinals at the Lifetime Activities Center in Taylorsville on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020.
The Judge Memorial Bulldogs celebrate during the 3A girls basketball semifinals at the Lifetime Activities Center in Taylorsville on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020.
Ivy Ceballo, Deseret News

TAYLORSVILLE — Teya Sidberry saved her best for last.

After a first half where she was held scoreless, Sidberry scored 17 points in the fourth quarter as she lifted Judge over Grantsville 40-37 and sent the Bulldogs to the 3A state final.

The defining moment in an excellent final period for Sidberry came as she nailed a 3-pointer with four seconds remaining in a tied game to give Judge the win.

“We were trying to stall and hold the ball because it was tied, let them foul and shoot free throws, but when I got the ball I was thinking of attacking immediately. I just wanted to score,” Sidberry said.

Sidberry’s shot from the left side of the 3-point line went in and, after playing defense on Grantsville’s final possession, the Bulldogs were headed to the championship.

“I wasn’t surprised that it went in, but I was happy that it went in,” Sidberry said of her shot.

Judge head coach Josh Pike credited Grantsville’s defense for taking Sidberry out of the game in the first half. Grantsville held the Bulldogs to just 10 first-half points and made Judge work for every point.

“I got off to a really slow start and I was disappointed in myself, but I knew that I had to be there for my team and help us push through,” Sidberry said. “They really deny me the ball really well and they’re really good defenders and they’re good to play against. They’re definitely talented. I get frustrated sometimes when fouls don’t go my way and I need to learn to play through it and keep my head up.”

In the second half, Judge was able to regain its footing and make it a game.

“We didn’t change much. Our strategy the whole time was just keep the ball in front of us. We got a little sloppy in the beginning, got a little overwhelming, they sort of took themselves out of the game mentally,” Pike said.

Early in the fourth quarter, Sidberry made a bucket that got her going for the rest of the game. Judge made sure she touched the ball every time down the floor. Sidberry scored 14 consecutive points for the Bulldogs, the last two of those 14 points coming off an offensive rebound and two free throws as Judge took a 36-35 lead.

“We came out and hit a couple of different shots with her, she got to find her rhythm again a little bit and when she starts hitting, she’s a whole different player,” Pike said.

The Bulldogs extended that lead to two points on a Mia Tarver free throw, then Grantsville’s Maison White tied the game with a rebound and bucket before Sidberry made the game-winning 3-pointer.

“We’ve got a young core of kids. We’re very talented; we’ve just got to work through that adversity,” Pike said.

Now Judge will play for its first girls basketball state championship in school history.

“So exciting! I’ve never been to the championship. I want to win it for our seniors. When they were freshmen, they lost in the state championship and Judge girls have never won a state championship. I think this is our year,” Sidberry said.