There’s no question that the Grantsville girls basketball team is among Class 3A’s elite programs — and it has its senior class to thank.
Over the past four seasons, the Cowboys have gone 82-19, won three region championships and reached at least the semifinals of the Class 3A state tournament three consecutive years. On Saturday at the Lifetime Activities Center at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville, Grantsville’s seniors wrapped up their successful run with a fourth-place finish in the state playoffs.
“I don’t think anyone’s sad about the outcome,” said Grantsville coach Megan Vera, who picked up her 100th career victory earlier this season. “We would have loved for it to be different, but it’s been such an enjoyable season with a group that really loves each other. The sadness comes from it being over.”
Grantsville (21-5) entered the state tournament as the No. 3 seed after finishing second in Region 13, and rolled to a 49-35 win over No. 11 San Juan in Thursday’s quarterfinal round. However, the Cowboys were beaten by Judge Memorial 40-37 in the semifinals, and lost Saturday’s third-place game to No. 4 Richfield by a 48-42 tally.
Vera said the way the season ended shouldn’t take away from what the Cowboys accomplished this year.
“(The seniors) have truly been a part of it from the get-go,” she said. “When they were sixth- and seventh-graders, they were coming to open gyms and they bought in to the goal and they bought in to what we were doing. Along the way, they got out of their comfort zone and chose to become great leaders.
“Honestly, that was one of the biggest keys to our success this year — their leadership. They helped bring our group together. We couldn’t have asked for more.”
No. 4 Richfield 48,
No. 3 Grantsville 42
The Cowboys led 18-14 at halftime after finishing the half on a 14-5 run, but Richfield held them without a field goal for more than 13 1/2 minutes to seize control of the season finale.
The Wildcats were the only opponent the Cowboys didn’t beat at some point this season, having beaten Grantsville 50-38 on Jan. 3. Morgan and Judge Memorial also had victories over the Cowboys, but GHS also beat the Trojans and Bulldogs during regular-season play.
Ashlee Edwards had 18 points, nine rebounds, five steals and two assists in the final game of her illustrious high-school career. She finishes her four years with 1,016 points, 438 rebounds, 228 assists and 370 steals.
“I think there have only been four (1,000-point scorers) in program history,” Vera said. “She got it on the last one.”
Junior center Maison White, Class 3A’s second-leading scorer this season, had 11 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Kylee Thomas had six points, Maile Bartley had three and Laura Sandberg and Ellie Thomas each scored two.
“Their mentality is that they’re just going to fight through anything,” Vera said. “It’s almost like they’re not fighting for the outcome — they’re competitors and they’re gamers, and they just love the feeling of being able to play that way.”
Nicole Willardson led Richfield with 13 points and seven rebounds. Jarica Steck had 11 points and six rebounds and Passion Reitz had 10 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals.
No. 2 Judge Memorial 40, No. 3 Grantsville 37
Judge’s Teya Sidberry hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds to lift the Bulldogs into the championship game, beating the Cowboys for the second time in three tries. Grantsville had a chance to tie the game as time expired, but McKenzie Allen’s desperation 3-point attempt fell just short.
Sidberry had been shut down for most of the game, but took over in the fourth quarter as Judge outscored the Cowboys 19-12. She finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds, with White posting 19 points and 15 rebounds for Grantsville.
Sandberg had eight points, five rebounds and three steals for the Cowboys, and Edwards had six points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Chloe Butler had two points. Allen and Kylee Thomas each scored one.
No. 3 Grantsville 49,
No. 11 San Juan 35
The Cowboys eased past the overmatched Broncos in Thursday’s quarterfinal game, building a 17-point lead through the first three quarters.
Edwards had a game-high 20 points, hitting four 3-pointers. White had 17 points, 14 rebounds and five steals. Sandberg had five points, Kylee Thomas had four points, six rebounds and four assists and Butler added three points and three steals. Allen had five rebounds and three assists.
Madison Palmer had 12 points and nine rebounds for San Juan.
Top-seeded South Sevier squeaked past Judge Memorial 47-46 in Saturday’s championship game, hitting the game-winning shot in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter. Carbon beat Morgan 55-44 for fifth place.