The Grantsville girls basketball team has made an annual tradition out of bringing home top-five finishes from the Class 3A state tournament, and this year was no different.
The Cowboys (22-4) found themselves playing on the tournament’s third day for the fourth year in a row. And while the state championship continues to elude them, the Cowboys still finished on a high note, defeating No. 4 Carbon 53-38 in Saturday’s third-place game at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.
“I thought the girls responded really well in that game on Saturday and bounced back and played hard for their last game,” Grantsville coach Megan Vera said.
Grantsville was coming off a tough 69-52 loss to No. 2 Emery in Friday’s semifinal round, which took the Cowboys out of state title contention. It was difficult for GHS and its seniors — Maison White, Hillary Cloward, Maddie Martin and Chloe Butler — to see their title run fall a game short of playing for the championship, but they were plenty motivated to play once Saturday came around.
“I definitely think they were pretty devastated,” Vera said. “Our kids love playing, and they love playing together, so we were able to use that. By the time Saturday came around, everyone was just excited to get one more game.”
The Cowboys led the Dinos (17-7) 9-5 after the first quarter on Saturday, but a 12-3 second-quarter run put Grantsville in the driver’s seat. GHS limited Carbon to just 18 points through the first three quarters for its second win of the season against the Dinos, having beaten CHS 52-41 on Dec. 14 in Price.
White, who will be playing collegiately at Colorado-Colorado Springs this coming winter, scored 18 points in the final game of her high-school career. Sophomore guard Kenzie Allen added 14 points for the Cowboys, while Butler hit three 3-pointers and scored nine points. Emily Ware and Emily Backus each scored five points and Martin had two.
“Quote from Megan,” Vera said.
No. 8 Morgan went on an impressive run through the tournament, defeating Emery 51-47 in the championship game.
“I never thought Morgan was a No. 8 seed,” Vera said. “I always knew that they were a lot better — probably a top-three. I think that’s kind of where the RPI can be a little skewed, but Morgan was by far one of the best teams that we played all year. I was not surprised to see them upset some teams.”
No. 6 Judge Memorial beat No. 5 Richfield 41-38 for fifth place.
No. 2 Emery 69, No. 3 Grantsville 52
Cold shooting put the Cowboys in a 23-12 first-quarter hole, and Grantsville never quite recovered as the Spartans held on for the victory.
Grantsville clawed its way to within three points at halftime, but was outscored by Emery 18-10 in the third quarter as the Spartans (16-5) restored their double-digit advantage.
“We were struggling to hit shots in that game, and even with shots not falling, we were in a position to have a chance,” Vera said. “A couple crucial moments just didn’t go our way with some shots not falling. We missed a layup at one point and then gave up an and-one on the other end right after, and from there, I think that took the momentum and we never could quite get it back.”
Emery was aided by stellar free-throw shooting, hitting 18-of-20 (90%) from the foul line to Grantsville’s 9-of-21 (42.9%) effort.
White had 31 points, 15 rebounds and five steals for the Cowboys, and Backus added 11 points. Ellie Thomas and Allen each scored four points and Cloward added two.
Emery had five players score in double-figures, with Tambrie Tuttle and Baylee Jacobsen each scoring 18 and combining for six 3-pointers.
No. 3 Grantsville 58, No. 6 Judge Memorial 46
The Cowboys picked up their third win of the season over Region 13 foe Judge Memorial, defeating the Bulldogs behind 19 points from Backus and 11 each from Allen and Thomas.
White was limited to just seven points in her final matchup against Bulldogs star center Teya Sidberry, who scored 23. Kate Borgmeier added 10 points for Judge Memorial (15-5), but the rest of the team combined for just 13 points.
Butler had nine points on three 3-pointers for Grantsville, which hit 9-of-15 (60%) from 3-point range and 19-of-36 (52.8%) from the field overall. Ware added one point for the Cowboys.