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High school girls basketball: No. 1 Springville rolls past Maple Mountain with another dominant defensive performance

Springville’s Lauryn Deede drives to the hoop in a girls basketball game against Maple Mountain in Springville on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.
Springville’s Lauryn Deede drives to the hoop in a girls basketball game against Maple Mountain in Springville on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Box Score

SPRINGVILLE — Top-ranked Springville extended its winning streak to nine straight on Tuesday night with another comfortable Region 8 victory.

There was a brief scare when Maple Mountain cut the deficit to five early in the fourth quarter, but Springville only allowed one bucket over the final seven minutes to prevail 43-28 and open up a two-game lead over Maple Mountain in the region standings.

“Ultimately we’re prepping for state and so every game we want that challenge, we need that challenge, so it was really good for us,” said Springville coach Holli Averett.

Springville was the 5A runner-up to Highland a year ago, and the end goal is obviously to take that next step as a program in 2021.

The path to get there was always going to be tougher with loftier expectations on the program — both internally and externally — and COVID-19 is certainly complicating that path forward.

Just two weeks ago, Springville’s girls basketball team started practicing fully in masks. It was all the result of Springville’s boys team getting shut down for two weeks and canceling four games because of one positive COVID-19 test on the team.

“The boys gave us a scare. We decided we’re going to be extra strict and practice fully in them,” said Averett.

Her team had worn masks periodically during practices through the first month-and-a-half of the season, but never during five-on-five portions. Knowing every practice and every game helps prepare Springville for what it hopes is another strong playoff run, the inconvenience of practicing with the mask is a sacrifice the team doesn’t mind making.

“It’s all that end goal. We’ve talked about we’ve got to be extra safe. Come February, you’ve got to decide if you want to go hang out with friends or do you want to play in state,” said Averett. “It’s kind of like do you give up one month to see what happens? It could be something great. … It’s your kind of choice. I think we all have the same goal in mind, so I think they’re accepting and will do it.”

Averett said adhering to all the protocols at times wears on her players, but they’re much easier to tolerate after performances like Tuesday.

Springville never trailed, jumping out to a 11-4 lead after the first quarter and extending it to 24-14 by halftime.

The lead stayed at 10 after the third quarter, but Maple Mountain scored five quick points to start the fourth, cutting the deficit to 31-26 with 7:13 remaining.

Springville’s defense shut things down from there, only allowing two more points the rest of the way. During its nine-game winning streak, Springville is only allowing 27.3 points per game.

One of the keys to the game was the defensive tenacity of sophomore Kayla Porray. Like always, she had the task of guarding Maple Mountain’s top scorer, and she excelled limiting junior Sheridan Liggett to just eight points, half of her season average.

As good as Porray was defensively, her emergence the past three games at the other end of the floor is what may ultimately help Springville reach its end goal.

Porray played very sparingly as a freshman and came into this season knowing her role would be as a defensive specialist. Though 11 games, that’s exactly how it was unfolding as she was averaging only 4.6 points per game in her starting role.

In the past three games though, she’s averaging 16.3 ppg as she backed up 19-point performances against both Park City and Salem Hills with an 11-point showing against Maple Mountain. In the three games she’s made a total of 13 3-pointers.

“The last few games she’s realized she can score and she’s starting to hit shots and she’s adding that extra threat, which is nice,” said Averett.

Lauryn Deede also stepped up big against Maple Mountain, scoring a game-high and new season-high 17 points.