Every team wants to start the season with a win. Doing so sets a positive tone for the remainder of the year, so it was no surprise that Desert Hills came out and defeated Payson to kick off the 2012-13 season on a high note.
What was surprising, though, is how the Thunder absolutely annihilated the visiting Lions, 84-27 on Thursday night.
Haley Bodnar led all scorers with 21 points, while Thunder point guard Blair Bliss collected 11 and dished out seven assists.
“They were excited to come out and play their first game,” Desert Hills coach Chris Allred said. “We wanted to come out and play with a lot of energy.”
Allred understated the results. The Thunder played like a powerful bundle of energy released after years locked in a bottle. They hit jump shots and made spectacular passes to the post, played solid defense, and made every layup.
Payson (1-2) looked a bit shell shocked.
“I thought we put on a good show in the beginning,” the 6-foot-3 Bodnar said. “We did all the things we wanted to accomplish.”
Desert Hills (1-0) exploded out of the gates with a 17-0 run. Karlee Myers (13 points) collected back-to-back steals during that span all resulting in easy layups.
The Lions finally got on the board with three-minutes remaining in the first quarter on a Katelyn Hannifin jumper.
But the Thunder responded with an 11-3 run to close the quarter, 28-5.
The second quarter offered similar results. Bliss found Bodnar in the paint on numerous occasions, and made more than a few spectacular shots of her own. On one possession, the 5-foot-9 guard stole the ball from Hannifin and drove coast to coast for the score.
“Blair did a really good job of pushing the ball,” Allred said. “I thought the one area that she improved on was her vision. She drove a number of times and hit our post players and made a number of good decisions. If she’ll continue to have that vision, we’ll be tough.”
Desert Hills built a more than comfortable 49-7 lead by halftime.
In the third quarter, Allred sat most of his starters after just a few minutes of play.
Even so, Desert Hills managed to notch 84 total points, easily surpassing the club’s highest point total of 66 collected on Dec. 17, 2010 against Highland.
“It’s always good to get that first game under your belt,” Allred said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect from tonight because we’ve been beating each other up for three weeks. It was nice to play someone else for a change.”
Desert Hills will next face Richfield on Friday at 7 p.m.