The Grantsville girls basketball team has steadily raised the bar over the past several seasons, reaching the third day of the state tournament in each of the past four years to solidify its standing as one of Class 3A’s elite programs.
Center Maison White has been a major contributor to that success, rewriting the Cowboys’ record book along the way. The Transcript Bulletin’s 2020-21 High School Girls Basketball Player of the Year finished her illustrious four-year career by leading Grantsville to a third-place finish in the Class 3A state tournament, while setting program records for career points (1,257) and rebounds (819). She also broke Grantsville’s school record for rebounds in a single season with 319.
“It was everything I always wanted it to be, honestly,” White said of her senior year. “I got to play with all my best friends this year, and not a lot of people get that opportunity. We accomplished what we wanted to and you can’t do better than that.”
White, who averaged 17.3 points and 12.8 rebounds per game and shot 169-of-308 (54.8%) from the field during her senior season, has grown accustomed to winning during her time at Grantsville High. She was a member of state-championship softball teams in 2018 and 2019, while she has also helped the volleyball team show steady improvement.
“Grantsville girls sports in general — we’re not really used to losing,” White said. “We’re a very high-caliber program, and that’s just what we’re used to. We all play together. The volleyball team, after that season’s done, we grab our basketball bag and the next day, we’re on the court. After basketball, we grab our softball or track stuff and we go together and do that next thing. I think the reaso we’re so successful is because of the relationships we have with each other.”
She hopes to carry over that winning mentality to the next level, where she will compete at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs beginning next season.
“I’ve had coaches that have pushed me and they’ve set the bar really high,” White said. “My potential and anyone else’s potential is limitless, and that was our motto this year. Being a part of a very successful program has set me up so I know what to look forward to at the next level.”
White leads a solid group of nine players on the Transcript Bulletin’s All-County team fro the 2020-21 season. These nine girls would make for a talented all-around squad, whether it’s perimeter shooting, post play or lockdown defense. Narrowing things down to just nine players was a difficult task, but the standouts were hard to miss.
Kenzie Allen, G, Grantsville, So. — Allen became one of the Cowboys’ most well-rounded players in her first year as a starter, averaging 9.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 4.1 steals per game.
Madi Baker, G, Tooele, Sr. — After missing her entire junior season with a foot injury, Baker returned to the Buffaloes’ lineup and was a much-welcomed addition. Her 6.5 points per game and 23 3-pointers made were crucial to Tooele’s success.
Aysha Lewis, G/F, Tooele, Sr. — Lewis led the Buffaloes with 9.6 points per game, including a team-high 27 3-pointers made. The 2018-19 White-Kimber Award winner helped Tooele get hot down the stretch to earn a first-round bye.
Ainsley Thurber, F, Stansbury, Jr. — Thurber was one of just two Stallions to play in every game this season, ranking third on the team at 8.6 points per game to go with 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists. She also hit a team-high 34 3-pointers.
Epa Tia, F, Stansbury, Jr. — Tia was unstoppable at times, averaging 12.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Even fouling her didn’t slow her down, as she shot 77.2% (71-of-92) from the free-throw line.
Emily Backus, G, Grantsville, Jr. — Backus might be the best sixth-woman option in Class 3A. In her first season with the Cowboys, she averaged 13.8 points per game off the bench and led Grantsville with 53 3-pointers made.
Emma Higley, G/F, Tooele, Sr. — Higley was a consistent contributor for the Buffaloes, averaging 6.9 points per game to rank second on the team in scoring. She was also Tooele’s third-leading 3-point shooter.
Sarah Gatluak, F, Stansbury, Jr. — Gatluak was Stansbury’s second-leading scorer at 9.2 points per game and shot a team-best 42.8% from the field. She also grabbed 3.8 rebounds per contest while playing all 22 games.