It has been one of those seasons for the Stansbury girls basketball team, where the Stallions seem to be on their way to a win, only to have it snatched away from them.
It happened to them again Tuesday night, as Uintah rallied past the Stallions for a 54-42 win in a Region 10 game at Stansbury High School. Stansbury (6-14, 3-8 Region 10) led 29-26 late in the third quarter after junior Ainsley Thurber banked in a 3-pointer from the left wing, but the Utes (7-12, 5-5) answered with a 14-1 run over the next 5:10 to take control of the game.
It was Stansbury’s sixth loss in the past seven games, and the Stallions’ fourth in a row on their home floor. However, things looked promising early for the Stallions, as Thurber hit two 3-pointers and Epa Tia and Reagan Richins each hit one in the first half to help Stansbury take a 23-22 halftime lead. Tia and Thurber connected from long range in the third quarter as well to give the Stallions a three-point lead with 2:27 left in the quarter, a marked improvement from Stansbury’s 24-point loss to Uintah on Jan. 19 in Vernal.
The Utes had an answer, though. Aly Bake scored from the low post to pull Uintah within one, and Kenna Gardiner added a driving layup and a 3-pointer before the quarter expired to put the Utes ahead 33-29 entering the fourth quarter. The Utes’ momentum continued with a trey by Acy Cornpeach on their first possession of the final period, followed by a layup by Cornpeach on an inbounds pass on their next trip down the floor.
A free throw by Stansbury’s Sarah Gatluak broke a five-minute scoreless drought for the Stallions, but Gardiner drew a foul against Gatluak on the ensuing Uintah possession. Gardiner briefly left the floor after a hard fall, but Lavina Rodd-Coloca hit two free throws in her place to put the Utes up 10 points with 5:17 left in the game.
Stansbury made it a two-possession game twice down the stretch, only to have Uintah stretch the lead back to double-digits. A basket and two free throws by Tia had the Stallions within six points with 4:18 left, but a driving layup by Rodd-Coloca and a 3 by Gardiner put the Utes up 45-34 just 50 seconds later.
Stansbury scored the next six points on baskets by Thurber and Anika Knudsen, sandwiched around two more Tia free throws, to cut the lead to five points with 1:54 left. Uintah responded by hitting 7-of-9 from the foul line, putting the game out of reach.
Gardiner hit four 3-pointers in the game and scored 24 points for the Utes. Cornpeach and Kyrsten Bake each scored eight points.
Tia led Stansbury with 16 points and Thurber added 11. Gatluak had eight points, Knudsen had four and Richins had three.
Stansbury wrapped up the regular season Thursday after press time on the road against Ogden. The Stallions will open the Class 4A state tournament Wednesday against an opponent to be determined.