Earlier this season, the Grantsville girls basketball team was left disappointed after suffering a 13-point loss at the hands of Region 13 rival Morgan — on its own home court, no less.
But the Cowboys didn’t just get mad. They got even.
An 11-4 run late in the second quarter helped Grantsville break open a close game, and Morgan never really mounted a challenge the rest of the way as the Cowboys rolled to a 58-45 win on the road, meaning that if both teams win out, it will require a coin flip to determine Region 13’s No. 1 seed entering the Class 3A state tournament.
“It feels great,” Grantsville senior Sarah Ellett said. “I think after they beat us, we just knew we had a statement to prove and I think (Thursday) we did a good job of that.”
Grantsville (14-5, 5-1 Region 13) found itself clinging to a 15-14 lead with 4:54 left in the second quarter before its game-changing run. Ellie Wilson got things started with a basket off a nice feed from Ashlee Edwards, who followed that up a minute later with a three-point play. After a Morgan free throw, Ellett scored twice, sandwiched around a layup by teammate Hannah Butler and a 3-pointer by Morgan’s Jaci Jensen to stretch Grantsville’s lead to eight points.
“We made some minor adjustments, but we knew we had to win the effort game,” Grantsville coach Megan Vera said. “We came out flat when they played at our place, and so our biggest focus has been throughout this past week has been (to) win the effort game and make sure we’re playing great defense.
“This is by far the biggest win of this season. It means a lot coming to Morgan — it’s a tough place to play and Morgan’s a great team, so it’s a huge win for us.”
Grantsville’s lead grew to 19 points in the fourth quarter after a 9-2 run, putting the Cowboys in prime position to claim the top spot in the region based on head-to-head point differential. However, the Trojans (11-10, 6-1) realized what was at stake, and they were able to cut Grantsville’s lead to 13 with 27.8 seconds remaining. After the teams exchanged turnovers, the Cowboys had a couple opportunities to score in the final 10 seconds, but were unable to convert.
It was about the only thing that went wrong for Grantsville all night.
“We worked a lot on our defense, and I think we executed really well,” Ellett said. “Coming from last year and being region champs, we were definitely aiming for one of the top spots, so it’s a great feeling to be here.”
Edwards led Grantsville with 15 points to go with six rebounds, six steals and three assists. Ellett had 10 points and Madison Fields had eight points and eight rebounds. Wilson and freshman Maison White each contributed seven points, Butler had six and Paige McCluskey added five.
Marci Jo Stapley led the Trojans with 12 points, while Lisa Blazzard and Jensen added 11 and 10, respectively.
While both teams have clinched postseason berths, there is still work to be done. Morgan has one game left in the regular season, which will come Thursday at Judge Memorial. Grantsville will travel to Judge on Tuesday before wrapping up the regular season at home Thursday against Summit Academy. Morgan and Grantsville will be looking to remain alive for the region title, while Judge Memorial still has the potential to move up to second place if it wins out and Grantsville loses out. Depending on what happens in Summit Academy’s game Tuesday against South Summit, the Bears could be looking to keep their season alive in Thursday’s game.
With that in mind, while the Cowboys were certainly thrilled to come into Morgan’s gym and knock off the Trojans, they weren’t celebrating too much just yet.
“We knew this was a big one, and we really couldn’t ask for a whole lot more from the girls,” Vera said. “They went out and did exactly what we asked, so we’re proud of the girls. If our girls show up and play with the mentality that they did (Thursday), we’re going to have a good shot.”