The mighty Morgan Trojans weren’t even challenged in their first two region games against a pair of winless teams in Grantsville and Ben Lomond.
That was not the case for the Trojans in their third region game Thursday night at Stansbury. The Stallions showed no signs of being intimidated by the region queenpin, which has been ranked as high as third in the state in 3A. Stansbury played solidly throughout the game and trailed 43-40 with 2:35 left in the contest, but could not pull off the upset. The Trojans rallied in the final 2 minutes to escape with a 51-42 victory.
“Overall, I was really happy with our performance. Our girls believed they could win, and that’s a great sign,” said Stansbury coach Kenzie Newton. “They played with a lot of confidence against one of the best teams in the state.”
Stansbury came out prepared and handled the Trojans’ trapping press with pinpoint passing for layups to surge out to an 8-2 advantage. The Stallions led 17-12 after one quarter. Morgan caught the Stallions in the second quarter and took a slim 26- 25 lead at halftime.
The Stallions’ leading scorer for the game, Bailey Wilson, was hit with her third foul early in the third quarter and had to sit out for about 4 minutes. During that time the Trojans inched out to a 33-26 advantage. Morgan eventually pushed the lead to 37-26 even with Wilson in the game, but the Stallions were able to fight back with a basket from Wilson on an assist from Erika Alvey and a bucket from Kallie Stewart on an assist from Madie Alvey. Morgan led 39-32 after three quarters.
Stansbury kept within striking distance in the fourth quarter with 3-pointer from the top of the key from Madie Alvey and a driving basket from Shyan Adams to make it 43-38 with 5:20 left in the game. Wilson sank a short jumper to trim it to 43-40 with 2:35 left.
Morgan sharpshooter Shaylie Duncan, who had been held in check most of the game by the Stallions, knocked down a long 2-point shot to give the Trojans a 45-40 advantage with 1:48 left in the game. Stansbury was forced to foul and Morgan added another basket and three foul shots to close out the 51-42 victory.
The Stallions have been known to use a full-court pressure defense in games this season, but dropped back in a halfcourt defense against the Trojans.
“They’re (Morgan) so good — we didn’t want to spread things out and get in running game with them. I thought our players adjusted well coming off the Tooele game,” Newton said.
Stansbury used a balance attack on offense to keep it close. Wilson scored 14, Erika Alvey scored 7, Stewart 6, Madie Alvey 6, Shyan Adams 7 and Rachel Prescott 2.
Stansbury plays at Juab on Thursday and hosts Highland on Saturday. Juab hasn’t played many games to start the season, putting together a 1-5 start. Highland is 1-7 to start the season, sharing a common opponent with Stansbury in Tooele. Highland lost to Tooele earlier in the year.