High school girls basketball: Farmington uses authoritative second half to blow out Olympus, advance to 1st 5A championship game
Each time Farmington advances deeper into the tournament, it takes another step further in its program’s young history book.
With a dominant 59-39 victory over Olympus Friday afternoon, Farmington clinched a spot in what will be the program’s first 5A state title game. The Phoenix outscored Olympus by 22 points in the second half to secure the blowout win despite trailing heading into halftime.
Farmington head coach Van Price attributed his team’s substandard first half to defensive struggles, which were addressed in the second half.
“We didn’t play a good half defensively and that’s what we talked about in the locker room,” said Price. “Normally we’re a good defensive team. We weren’t helping out on picks, we weren’t switching like we normally do, and that played into (Olympus’) hands.”
Price also noted that jitters of the big stage may have contributed to his team’s first-half struggles on the offensive end. Farmington shot just 30% from the field in the first two quarters.
“We were a little bit nervous, but after we got used to the gym, we definitely started playing better together and we settled down.” — Farmington’s Amber Beddes
“I think the first game jitters on the college court was a little nerve-wracking for everybody. In the second half, we just settled in and ran our plays,” said Price.
Farmington’s Amber Beddes scored all of her 11 points and shot 83% during the second-half hammering. Beddes reaffirmed what her coach said about the big-game jitters when asked what helped her improve so drastically in the final two periods.
“We were a little bit nervous, but after we got used to the gym, we definitely started playing better together and we settled down,” said Beddes. “I feel like my head was more in the game and I was able to focus a lot better.”
Beddes was a key contributor in a 12-0 run for Farmington midway through the third quarter.
“She’s a confidence driven player,” Price said concerning Beddes. “When she’s got her confidence and her groove, she’s really tough to stop. The last three games she’s really played well for us.”
Valerie Kunzler scored 13 points for Farmington while shooting 71% from the field and 60% from the 3-point line. Delaney Baker also chipped in 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Phoenix.
Farmington did a solid job making life tough for Olympus forward Alyssa Blanck, who came into the game as 5A’s third leading scorer. Blanck shot 3-for-13 from the field and finished with 10 points.
“We were just keeping a player on her and switching everything so we could have somebody in her face all the time,” said Price on Farmington’s strategy for defending Blanck.
Despite a rough second half that saw her and her team trail by double-digits, Blanck kept on working for her team, diving on the floor for loose balls, bloodying one of her knees in the process.
Despite the fight from Olympus, Farmington cruised to the semifinal victory and set itself up for a chance to take on Springville for the championship on Saturday.
Coach Price, who has championship game experience during his tenure at Layton High, said that championship games require teams to play at their best.
“We’ve got to play our best game. We’re going to have to play really good basketball, similar to the way we played the second half tonight,” Price said.
Beddes said she and her teammates have been waiting for a long time to be in the position that they are.
“We are so excited,” she said. “We’ve been talking about this the whole year about being right here in this situation, so to finally make it to the final game, we are just ecstatic.”