Snow Canyon felt the pressure of being the defending 3A state champion throughout its quarterfinal matchup against Delta.
Despite several nerve-wracking moments, the Lady Warriors found a way to move on, dominating the fourth quarter and extending their reign as the champs for at least one more day, beating Delta 53-36 in 3A state tournament action at Weber State on Thursday.
“I don’t think tonight was our best game,” Snow Canyon coach Wade Jensen said. “But, at this point of the season, we’re just happy to move on.”
The opening minutes of the game were a struggle for the Lady Warriors, as Delta opened up an early 6-2 lead. Then Snow Canyon opened up a run built around upperclassmen leaders, going on a 9-2 run to end the first quarter, leading 11-8.
The Warriors’ run continued in the second quarter as Ashlee Nyborg and Amy Harris chipped in baskets to open up a 16-10 lead three minutes into the quarter. The lead got as large as 22-14, when Grace Walton hit a three-pointer with 3:12 left in the half. Unlike the end of the first quarter — which Snow Canyon dominated — Delta controlled the finish of the end of the first half, leaving the Lady Warriors with a 22-21 halftime lead.
“We kind of got out of our game plan,” Jensen said, in reference to the late struggles. “Luckily, we were able to regroup at halftime.”
Halftime proved to be a remedy for the Warriors as they opened the quarter on a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 26-21 after Lauren Smith hit a jumper with 5:38 left. Snow Canyon turned up the heat defensively, using a strong interior to affect Delta’s slashing style. And, as the seconds ticked off the clock to end the third, Snow Canyon’s star, Amy Harris, hit a runner at the buzzer to give the Lady Warriors a 33-25 lead going into the fourth quarter.
“It did provide a spark for us, going into the fourth quarter,” Harris said. “That shot got us to go get it.”
With momentum at their sides, the Lady Warriors powered through the fourth quarter, opening on a 10-0 spurt which spanned the quarter’s first 3:30, until Kennedy Springer was able to score on a baseline move to cut the deficit. Two Ashlee Nyborg threes, coupled with a bevy of post-ups by Madison Gubler, propelled the Warriors through the remainder of the quarter, and ensured another appearance in the state semifinals.
Harris and Nyborg led all scorers, both netting 12 points for Snow Canyon. Delta’s Angela Burton led the Lady Rabbits with 11 points.
On the eve of the state semifinals, Harris insists the team is ready for the stage.
“We’re excited for this opportunity,” Harris said. “We just always have to play our game, no matter who it’s against.”