The Grantsville girls basketball team had won seven games in a row coming into Thursday night’s regular-season finale against Judge Memorial, but after the first 16 minutes, the Cowboys found themselves in a precarious spot.
The Bulldogs had built a 10-point halftime lead, putting Grantsville in danger of falling into a tie for the Region 13 title instead of winning it outright. Worse yet, the Cowboys needed a win to avoid slipping down the rankings for the upcoming Class 3A state tournament.
However, as they have so many times before, the Cowboys rose to the challenge. Emily Backus scored 11 points in the third quarter and Maison White chipped in 13 in the fourth, leading a furious Grantsville comeback that ended in a 56-48 win for the Cowboys at Grantsville High School.
Grantsville (19-3, 9-1 Region 13) was down 25-15 at halftime, and Judge Memorial (12-4, 7-3) stretched the lead to 11 points on a 3-pointer by Klowie Pike early in the third quarter. Then, Backus gave the Cowboys the spark they needed, drawing a charge against Bulldogs star center Teya Sidberry and knocking down a 3-pointer from the left corner on the ensuing GHS possession.
That was the beginning of a 16-5 Cowboys run that put them in front 33-32 — Grantsville’s first lead since a 7-6 advantage late in the first quarter. Sophomore guard Kenzie Allen drained a 3 from the right wing, and Backus converted an offensive rebound off a missed free throw for two more points. Allen added a foul shot and Backus nailed a 3 from the deep right wing to pull Grantsville within a point with 3:40 left in the third quarter. After a Cowboys steal, Backus corralled a loose ball and flipped it into the basket to put Grantsville ahead.
Judge Memorial finally slowed the Cowboys down a bit at the end of the quarter, carrying a 38-35 lead into the final eight minutes. The Cowboys quickly regained the momentum on a pair of layups by White, one of which came on an offensive rebound, and took a 39-38 advantage with 6:56 left in the game.
They never trailed again. A Grantsville steal and a pair of Bulldogs fouls led to two more free throws from White, and crucial offensive rebounds by White and Ellie Thomas had the Cowboys ahead 45-40 with 4:32 left. Judge briefly cut Grantsville’s lead to one point on layups by Pike and Sidberry, but the Cowboys finished the game on an 11-4 run that included a 7-for-8 effort from the foul line by Chloe Butler, White and Allen.
Judge Memorial had the lead for the entire second quarter, riding an 11-1 run to a 17-8 lead as Maya Renteria, Sidberry and Lucy Callahan all knocked down 3-pointers. Backus hit a 3 from the left wing to snap a nearly five-minute drought for Grantsville, only to go the remaining 4:31 of the first half without a field goal as the Bulldogs expanded their lead.
White had a game-high 25 points and 19 rebounds (nine offensive) for Grantsville, shooting an impressive 8-for-10 from the field. Backus had 20 points, four rebounds and two steals, and Allen had seven points, four rebounds, five assists and three steals. Thomas had two points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals and Butler had two points, two steals and five rebounds.
Sidberry led Judge Memorial with 15 points and 13 rebounds, though she also committed 10 turnovers. Pike had nine points and Callahan added eight, while Renteria had five, Maria Martinez and Kate Borgmeier had four each and Marika Collins scored three. The Bulldogs committed 27 turnovers to Grantsville’s 12 and were out rebounds 38-34, including an 18-10 margin on the offensive end.
Grantsville will enjoy a bye in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament. The Cowboys will play host to either No. 14 Juab or No. 19 Maeser Prep in the second round of the tournament Saturday at 1 p.m.