While the Grantsville girls basketball team hasn’t lost yet in Region 13 play, the Cowboys have had trouble with sluggish starts in recent games before turning it on late.
That wasn’t a problem in Thursday night’s 58-41 blowout win over Morgan at Grantsville High School. The Cowboys led for all but the first 36 seconds of the game and led by as many as 11 points in the first quarter, staying in firm control from start to finish.
“It’s definitely something we’ve been talking about since the Summit Academy and South Summit games,” Grantsville coach Megan Vera said. “I think they came in focused. We had a couple great practices coming into (Thursday), so I think mentally they were ready to go.”
Grantsville (16-3, 6-0 Region 13) knew it had a major size advantage inside against the young and undersized Trojans (9-11, 4-3), and went right to work. Forwards Madison Fields, Maison White and Hannah Butler combined for 40 points, 26 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and three blocks, while point guard Ashlee Edwards had 14 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal as the Cowboys’ patience on the offensive end opened up plenty of opportunities.
“We knew the post would be one of our strengths,” Vera said. “Our goal was to limit Morgan’s possessions. I felt like we executed well. We were patient and we looked for good shots rather than quick shots.”
Vera was also pleased with her team’s defensive effort, as the Cowboys didn’t allow the Trojans to get many open looks. As a result, Morgan went 0-for-14 from 3-point range and 13-for-44 (30 percent) from the field overall.
“Defensively, we wanted to make sure that we contained them on the 3-point line,” Vera said. “We really wanted to stay in position — we weren’t really doing a lot of trapping.”
After taking a 16-7 lead through the first eight minutes of the contest, Grantsville hit a bit of a lull in the second quarter. The Trojans cut the Cowboys’ lead to 25-19 on a putback by Meagan Matthews with 1:11 left in the first half, and GHS led by just eight at halftime. But Grantsville quickly regained its footing in the third quarter, outscoring Morgan 18-7 to stretch the lead to 45-26. The Cowboys led by as many as 23 in the fourth quarter.
“Honestly, I think it was lack of focus — trying to do too much instead of being patient,” Vera said of the second quarter. “We talked about it at halftime and I thought they adjusted well. We had a great third quarter.”
Fields led the way for Grantsville, recording a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds to go with five assists. Butler had 11 points, nine rebounds and two steals, and White had 13 points and seven rebounds. Kylee Thomas had three points and Laura Sandberg had one to round out the scoring for the Cowboys.
Sydney Cragun and Ashlyn Morrell led Morgan with 12 points each.
Grantsville went into Tuesday’s home game against Judge Memorial with a chance to clinch the Region 13 championship with a victory. However, Vera said the Cowboys weren’t approaching the game with the Bulldogs any differently despite having that on the line.
“I think they’re hyper-focused, but we haven’t really talked about that specifically,” Vera said. “We’re just taking it one game at a time and using each game and each practice to lead us to our ultimate goal. We don’t want to jump the gun and get too far ahead of ourselves.”