Grantsville players are eager for a rematch with Morgan in the state playoffs after the defending 3A champs defeated the Cowboys 55-46 Wednesday night in a non-region game in the GHS gym.
“We needed a game like this just to move forward,” said Grantsville coach Chris Baker. “They (GHS players) want them (Morgan) again.”
After four straight blowout victories over Region 11 opponents, Grantsville got the tenacious battle it expected against a team considered by many as the best in 3A ranks.
“They had two big runs in the game, but other than that we were right there with them. We had talked all day about this game being a gauge for us to see how we compare against the top teams in the state,” Baker said. “Now, we know.”
The coach said his players rebounded nicely after a home loss to Bear River with a big win over the Bears in Garland. He feels that after the game against Morgan, his team would bounce back in similar fashion if they meet the Trojans again.
After trailing by as many as 11 points in the third quarter, the Cowboys got back in the game on solid foul shooting by Devin Adams who was driving strong to the hoop on offense. Adams hit four straight foul shots, followed by a strong drive and basket by Jake Riding to cut Morgan’s lead to 29-23.
Grantsville was in business when Dallin Williams knocked down a 3-pointer from the left corner with six seconds left in the period to make it 29-26 Morgan after three periods.
Grantsville trailed by five points with 7:31 left in the game when the Trojans outscored the Cowboys 17-5 in a five-minute span to expand the visitors’ lead to 48-31 with 2:05 remaining.
The Cowboys battled back again with foul shots from Williams, and cut the lead to 11 when Nick Arbon drained a 3-pointer from the corner with 55 seconds remaining. The hole was too deep, however, and the Trojans held on for a nine-point win.
Grantsville scored its first four points on foul shots, and tied the game at 6-6 on a put-back bucket by Tyler Colson. Arbon scored to keep the game even, but a fastbreak bucket with 1 second to go in the first quarter gave Morgan a 10-8 lead.
Morgan started its first big run of the game when Garren Miles connected on a 3-pointer. Miles led the Trojans in scoring with three 3-pointers and 22 points. Bridger Streadbeck scored twice in a row all alone inside on long feeds from the perimeter to push the lead out to 19-12, then Matt Murdock connected on a 3-pointer to give the Trojans a 22-12 advantage late in the second quarter.
Grantsville finished off the first half with three foul shots from Devin Arrellano to make the score 22-15 at intermission.
Morgan pushed the lead to 28-17 midway through the third quarter until the Cowboys made a run of their own to trim the visitors’ lead back down to 29-26 after three quarters.
Morgan’s full-court pressure defense wore on the Cowboys who committed 18 turnovers in the game.
“We’re a deep team, but we need the bottom half of our lineup to be more aggressive when they enter the game. Another thing is we gave up several offensive rebounds, which we normally don’t do. Morgan was a little bigger than we thought they were. We can make adjustments,” Baker said.
Grantsville moves to a 15-3 record overall. “Our three losses have been learning experiences. We walked away from this game knowing that Morgan is not a better team than we are,” Baker said.
Scoring: Williams 12, Adams 10, Arellano 7, Riding 6, Arbon 5, Colson 4, Fisher 2.
Grantsville will honor seniors Arbon, Riding, Spencer Lawrence, Arellano, Colson, Ky Fisher, Adams and Williams at Friday’s home game against Ben Lomond.