The Stansbury girls basketball team was on the brink of a signature win through the first 19 minutes of Saturday’s game against Morgan, the top-ranked team in Class 3A.
However, over the final 13 minutes of the game, the Trojans showed why they’ve earned that reputation.
Morgan rallied from a 12-point third-quarter deficit and outscored Stansbury 28-9 down the stretch to beat the Stallions 46-39 in the Tooele County Classic, bouncing back from a four-point loss to Desert Hills earlier in the day and dropping the Stallions to 4-4 on the season.
There were plenty of positives to be taken from Saturday’s loss, however.
“Our defense was lock-down,” Stansbury coach Kenzie Newton said. “Morgan, I think averages like 60-something points a game, and it was a low-scoring game and our defense really held them. I was happy about that. Any team in the top-5, if we can hold them under 50, that’s a game we should be in.”
The Stallions started the game on an 8-2 run, led by senior Josie Warner’s six points. Kyrstanne Idom gave Stansbury a 10-7 lead after the first quarter with a buzzer-beater, and she hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second to help the Stallions take a five-point advantage into the locker room at halftime.
The Stallions opened the second half with seven quick points, including another trey from Idom, giving Stansbury a 30-18 advantage with 5:20 left in the third quarter. But the Trojans (7-2), who had been stagnant for most of the game, suddenly found their legs and whittled the Stallions’ lead down to two points by the end of the quarter, and took their first lead of the game on an and-one by Brookelyn Hurlbut with 4:28 to go.
The Trojans closed the game on an 11-2 run as Stansbury’s inexperience showed down the stretch.
“It’s still just part of those growing pains,” Newton said. “Two and a half [quarters] is still more than we were at the beginning and it’s getting better and better. I’m proud of them. I’m really happy with our performance. The win was in our grasp and we’ll kind of work on those things –– trusting each other and daring to leave the ball because you buy into the offense and you know that the next person’s going to be there. Those things will come.”
Hurlbut scored a game-high 20 points and was 7-for-9 at the free-throw line, while teammate Marcie Stapley scored 13 points and hit all three of her foul shots.
The fact Stansbury was whistled for 16 fouls and Morgan committed only five didn’t help matters for the Stallions, as the Trojans went 15-for-19 from the free-throw line and Stansbury was 4-for-4.
“I feel like we’re getting it inside, but we just need to go into contact a little bit more and draw fouls,” Newton said, noting the foul disparity was similar in Friday night’s game against Payson.
Idom led the Stallions with 13 points, and Warner added 12. Mia Thurber had four points, Kalee Philips and Deanna Castillo each had three, and Sienna Riggle and Taylor Hinds had two.
The loss was the Stallions’ second in three games at this year’s Tooele County Classic, though Newton was pleased with what she saw from her team. Stansbury lost by just one point to Class 4A Olympus on Thursday before rolling to a win over Payson on Friday.
“When I made the schedule, I thought, ‘man, Olympus, I hope that’s a good game for us, and Morgan, hopefully we keep it competitive,’” she said. “We were right there in both of those games with a chance to win. Looking at this team in my thoughts in the summer when I make the schedule … we’re right there.”
The Stallions will wrap up their pre-Christmas schedule Tuesday night at home against Juab.