Crowning a Champion From Chaotic Field


Top 4 Seeds

#1 Grantsville (22-2, 10-0) Region 13 Champion – The Lady Cowboys have been blistering hot, winning their last 16 games. In fact, Grantsville has not lost since the middle of December and the only 3A loss came at the hands of #4 Carbon in Price (51-43). The Cowboys have four dynamic scorers with Mckenzie Allen (13.7), Baylee Lowder (10.3), Avery Allred (9.7) and Maile Bartley (9.6) all averaging above or right at ten points per game. The squad also shares the ball well, posting 13.5 assists per night.

While Grantsville can certainly score points, the Cowboys’ defense is what really should scare teams. The opposition will need to have several skilled ball-handlers and play with a lot of discipline. The Cowboys are one of the best, if not the best, press teams in the tournament. They average over 19 steals per game and can suffocate an offense. Teams will have to win the turnover battle in order to have a shot against Grantsville.

Key Games: at #2 Richfield 52-50 W, vs #3 Morgan 60-40 W, at #3 Morgan 63-58 W, at #4 Carbon 51-43 L, vs Layton Christian Academy 40-29 W, at Layton Christian Academy 43-39 W, vs #8 Judge Memorial 49-35 W, at #12 Delta 61-39 W

#2 Richfield (20-3, 5-1) Region 12 Co-Champion – The Lady Wildcats come into the quarterfinals as one of the most balanced teams remaining. Richfield is a matchup nightmare for the opposition, beginning with forward Nicole Willardson and moving to guards Kamryn Knutson and Hallie Janes.

Willardson has caused sleepless nights for coaches since she was a freshman, and her senior campaign has been nothing short of incredible. She nearly averages a double-double with 19.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. She is too quick and athletic against a true big and she is too tall and powerful against an athletic forward. She is also a great passer and has the ability to pull up from three, where she shoots 41% in limited opportunities.

When opponents double-team Willardson, Knutson and Janes can make them pay from outside. Knutson is also a 40% shooter from beyond the arc while Janes has incredible range. The ‘Cats are great at finding the open shooter and register nearly 16 assists on average. Teams will need to play great defense and put up over 50 points to keep up with Richfield.

Key Games: vs #1 Grantsville 52-50 L, vs #4 Carbon 54-43 W, at #4 Carbon 60-56 L, vs #6 Layton Christian Academy (neutral) 61-50 (OT) W, at #7 Canyon View 65-39 W, vs #7 Canyon View 46-28 W, at #12 Delta 58-24 W

#3 Morgan (18-6, 8-2) Region 13 2nd Place – The Lady Trojans are always scary in a tournament setting due to their tenacious play and unbending will. We are only a couple years removed from the improbable run when Morgan held the eight seed and knocked off top seed after top seed on the way to a state title. One thing to know for sure: the Trojans will not go down without a fight.

This is an experienced group with over a handful of seniors and several contributing juniors. Elena Birkeland leads the team with 17.9 points per game. Center Alyvia Jaffa adds a double-double on average with 14.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. The Trojans, though, do not have another big and can give up a few rebounds, especially when Jaffa is on the bench. With that being said, the squad fights hard in order to make up for its lack of size. Teams will need to match the Trojans’ intensity in order to advance.

Key Games: at #1 Grantsville 60-40 L, vs #1 Grantsville 63-58 L, vs #6 Layton Christian Academy 63-61 W, at #6 Layton Christian Academy 65-43 W

#4 Carbon (16-5, 5-1) Region 12 Co-Champion – The Lady Dinos look poised to make a run with more height and depth than ever before. Madi Orth leads the team with 12.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, Tatum Tanner and Haley Garrish can come in and clog up the paint. Few teams, if any, have the size to deal with Tanner. She has the ability to take over a game, especially against smaller teams.

The Dinos also have the personnel to go small and run with teams. Guards Kennedy Williams and Amiah Timothy combine for 15 points and eight assists per night. Orth can also handle the ball extremely well and the Dinos seek to take advantage of fast breaks when they are available. This makes Carbon unique, due to the fact that the Dinos can match up with anyone.

Carbon does well in almost every statistical category, except for turnovers. The Dinos average over 19 turnovers per game, which could be the cause of an early exit. If Carbon can take care of the ball, the Dinos will be a tough out.

Key Games: vs #1 Grantsville 51-43 W, at #2 Richfield 54-43 L, vs #2 Richfield 60-56 W, vs #6 Layton Christian Academy (neutral) 55-49 W, vs #7 Canyon View 46-37 W, at #7 Canyon View 52-38 W

The Rest of the Field

Three of the four quarterfinals are rematches of regular season games. In fact, half are between region opponents, meaning it will be the third contest between the two schools.

#6 Layton Christian Academy (LCA) is in one of those matchups and will face #3 Morgan. While the Eagles have not found an answer against the Trojans, they did play them within two at Morgan. This is a senior-heavy squad featuring Ruzgar Christina Boyle and Bianca Silva with 19.5 and 11.8 points per night, respectively. LCA has had trouble against the top teams in 3A, but has handled everyone else. The closest the Eagles came to knocking off a big team was their overtime loss to Richfield. LCA’s last chance to get over the hump is quickly approaching.

#7 Canyon View is a lot like the Eagles as the Falcons have struggled against top teams. They were 0-4 against #2 Richfield and #4 Carbon in the regular season. That makes Thursday’s matchup against the Wildcats that much tougher as Richfield has blown out Canyon View this year. It has not been a good matchup for the Falcons, who have not had an answer for Willardson. She has averaged 23 points against Canyon View in the two contests. The Falcons will need to come up with a new strategy to contain Richfield and rely on Maylee Spencer (So.), Jayda Gleave (Sr.) and Maya Nichols (So.) to put up points. The trio averages a combined 30 points per game.

#8 Judge Memorial needed a big fourth quarter to overtake #9 Emery and advance to the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs will have their toughest test yet in a rematch with Grantsville. In the first meeting, the Cowboys forced 28 turnovers to keep Judge Memorial at bay. That is well over the Bulldogs’ season average of 16 turnovers per night. The Bulldogs have scorers, including Nyandeng Deng (14.5), Esther Analijok (11.6), Klowie Pike (10.7) and Elyah Ocampo (10.2). The four-headed monster combines for over 46 points and 26 rebounds per night. If the Bulldogs can take care of the ball, their athleticism poses threats to anyone they meet.

#12 Delta surprised #5 Juab in the team’s third meeting to upset the Wasps for the first time this year. As their record (11-10) and ranking suggest, it has been an up and down season for the Rabbits. Outside of Kate Smith’s 19 points per night, it has been difficult to find consistent offensive weapons. The Rabbits compiled 51 points to overtake Juab and will need to be closer to that mark than the 30-40 points they usually obtain. It will be an uphill battle for Delta, but nothing is more dangerous than a team getting hot at the right time.

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