After handily defeating their opponents in Friday night’s semi final matchup against Carbon High, the Grantsville Cowboys girls basketball team had just one more game left — a championship showdown with the Morgan High Trojans.
Having previously played twice already this season, the two teams were familiar with one another and looked poised for a tightly contested game.
In the first quarter the Cowboys played dominant on the offensive boards, but chippy plays and broken-up offense kept either team from putting up significant points. Morgan had the upper hand in the period and went into the second with a 13-11 lead.
The second quarter was just as bumpy for Grantsville as an early scoring drought enabled the Trojans to pull away slightly. And while the Cowboys did win the turnover game and at one point tied the game, Morgan managed to pull away again and put together a 10-point advantage with less than two minutes remaining in the half. When the buzzer on the second quarter sounded, the Cowboys trailed 25-33 heading into the break.
At the onset of the second half, Morgan regained a double-digit lead and held a 41-27 advantage in the first two minutes of the third quarter. Over the next three minutes Grantsville seemingly flipped a switch and started a push of their own, going on a 14-point run to tie the game at 41 points.
From that moment on the game stayed close and both teams would not give up any more scoring runs. Heading into the fourth quarter, Morgan held onto a slim 50-48 advantage.
Over the next eight minutes, several late-game developments factored into the outcome of the game as the Cowboys and Trojans found some of their top players in foul trouble. In addition to Morgan’s center Alyvia Jaffa being benched with four fouls throughout much of the third and fourth quarter, Grantsville’s guard Baylee Lowder also found herself sitting for a stretch with four fouls of her own.
And while Jaffa’s absence undoubtedly enabled the Cowboys to climb back into the game in the third, Lowder’s long frame was missed dearly in the fourth quarter. After an early lull in scoring, the two teams played neck-and-neck, with the score either remaining tied or one team leading by a single possession.
This pace continued up until the last minute-and-a-half remaining, when Morgan took a 62-60 lead. Continuous fouls by both teams slowed the game considerably, and free throws gave each team uncontested offensive production. It was the Trojans who benefited in the end, as two late free throws put the team up by two possessions with only two seconds left.
As the second free throw fell, the four-point lead cemented Morgan’s win and Grantsville lost by the score of 70-66. The loss brings the Cowboys’ final record to 24-3.