The Grantsville girls basketball team had a rare thing happen to it during the preseason.
Not only did the Cowboys lose two out of three, but they lost them against a pair of Class 3A opponents. One of them was a 19-point blowout against Delta. Grantsville still had a winning record at 3-2, but the Cowboys didn’t quite look like themselves.
But if anyone thought Grantsville was headed for a down season, it looks like they were sorely mistaken. All the Cowboys have done since that Delta loss is rattle off seven consecutive victories, with six coming by 16 points or more.
Five of the seven wins have come against Class 4A competition, including convincing wins over county rivals Stansbury and Tooele. Another win came against Class 5A Orem. The Cowboys’ average margin of victory is 19.4 points per game, and they haven’t allowed more than 43 points in any contest since Dec. 15. Suddenly, they’re 10-2 and sitting sixth in the Ratings Percentage Index rankings, just in time for the Region 13 season to start.
Saturday’s win over Tooele serves as evidence of just how well the Cowboys are playing, even though they’re not at full strength — which should terrify their opponents. Tooele’s stifling defense has been a thorn in opponents’ sides all season long, but the Buffaloes were no match for Grantsville. Even though the Cowboys were without regular starting point guard Kenzie Allen, it didn’t seem to matter. Emily Backus and Ellie Thomas were seemingly in every passing lane, combining for 13 steals. Backus scored 19 points, while Maison White had 20 points and 14 rebounds — including six offensive rebounds. Thomas dished out four assists, and the Cowboys scored 58 points against a team that hadn’t allowed more than 45 in a single game all season.
All this, from a team that was missing its fourth-leading scorer who also ranks second in rebounds and assists and leads the team in steals. Once Allen is back in the lineup, an already-dangerous team becomes truly scary.
The Cowboys have already been tested early in the season, beating Carbon and losing to Richfield. In Region 13, they’ll face Judge Memorial and Morgan as they start fine-tuning their game for another postseason run. But the way things have been going lately, Grantsville should have all the confidence in the world as it pursues a region championship.
The Cowboys should also have a bit of a chip on their shoulders, as well. After all, it was Judge Memorial that beat them in last year’s Class 3A state semifinals, bringing their championship hopes to an end. The two games against the Bulldogs promise to be epic battles, with two of the state’s best post players in White and Judge Memorial’s Teya Sidberry set to face off. Morgan, even in an off year, always brings its best against Grantsville, its longtime rival.
The Cowboys tip off their region season tonight against Providence Hall, with a road trip to Morgan awaiting them on Thursday night. It ought to be fun to see how the Cowboys carry the momentum from the past few weeks into this “second season.”
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. He always enjoys the added intensity that comes with the region season. Email him at email@example.com.