The Grantsville girls basketball team has rediscovered its winning ways, and not a moment too soon — though its latest victory came down to the wire.
The Cowboys escaped Thursday’s Region 13 showdown against Judge Memorial with a 55-53 win, as the Bulldogs’ attempt at a game-tying shot came just after the buzzer sounded. That allowed Grantsville (14-2, 3-1 Region 13) to win its third consecutive victory after a brief two-game losing skid — and, more importantly, it moved the Cowboys into second place in the region standings as the season nears its halfway point.
“It’s a huge win, not only because Judge is a good team, but the way we had to play (Thursday) to get the win is what we’ve been trying to do and feel all year,” Grantsville coach Megan Vera said. “I think now that we’ve done it, we’re going to be able to carry that on. It’s a great win against a great team, and I think it’s going to give us a lot of momentum moving forward.”
Judge Memorial (11-2, 3-1) led 24-21 with 2:08 left in the first half, but Grantsville finished the second quarter on a 9-0 run. Junior center Maison White had five points during that stretch, including a traditional three-point play, and Hillary Cloward scored four points in the final minute as the Cowboys took a 30-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Cowboys then outscored the Bulldogs 13-6 in the third quarter to seemingly seize control of the game. White had six points in the quarter, and Ashlee Edwards added five, including a 3-pointer as part of a 10-0 run that saw Grantsville take a 46-30 lead with 6:46 left in the game.
But Judge Memorial didn’t give up — especially not sophomore star Teya Sidberry, who scored 15 of her team-high 23 points in the fourth quarter. After White scored to give Grantsville a 50-37 lead with 4:33 left in the game, the Bulldogs outscored the Cowboys 16-5, with Sidberry scoring 13 consecutive Judge Memorial points after Emily Malouf opened the run with a 3-pointer.
“Sidberry’s a good player, and she took over in that fourth quarter,” Vera said. “We’ll need to watch film and be ready the next time, but I’m super proud of our girls. They played hard the whole game.”
The Bulldogs cut the lead to 53-50 on a putback by Sidberry with 1:17 left, but Grantsville senior Laura Sandberg answered with a basket of her own to put Grantsville up 55-50 just 15 seconds later. Sidberry hit 1-of-2 from the free-throw line to make it 55-51, and she added another basket with 33.9 seconds remaining to cut it to a one-possession ballgame. Grantsville turned the ball over on each of its next two possessions, but Judge was unable to get the game to overtime.
“Our leaders did a good job as things were starting to get away,” Vera said. “I knew that we were going to step up, and I had confidence in our kids that they were going to make the plays at the end to win the game. The leadership that we had on the floor with our upperclassmen was huge at the end.”
White was a dominant force in the post, leading all scorers with 24 points and pulling down 15 rebounds. Edwards added 16 points, 11 rebounds, seven steals and five assists. However, the Cowboys’ role players also stepped up in key moments, even if it didn’t show up on the scoresheet.
Freshman McKenzie Allen had two points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Kylee Thomas had two points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Cloward had six points, Ellie Thomas had three and Sandberg finished with two.
“(Allen) is really coming out of her shell, and I think she’s gaining confidence with experience,” Vera said. “Her I.Q. is building, and she’s stepping up big-time for us, which we knew that she could. It’s awesome to see, and she’s just building momentum right now.”
Sidberry had 11 points and five steals to go with her 23 points. Mia Tarver had nine points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals. Malouf had 12 points, Abigayle Kendell had five and Marika Collins added four for Judge.
Grantsville faced Providence Hall in a Region 13 game Tuesday night at home. The Cowboys will open the second half of the region season Thursday at Morgan.
“Right now, the trial is that we play with the energy that we did (Thursday),” Vera said. “That’s what we’ve been trying to get to all year. We’ve had spurts of it, but we’ve talked about playing with that energy all four quarters, and it finally clicked. I think the goal for Providence Hall needs to be playing with that energy and that pace the whole game.”