The Desert Hills girls basketball team walked onto the court Wednesday expecting to take victory from Pine View — and it sure did.
Junior center Haley Bodnar led the Thunder to a 65-24 victory over the Panthers with 17 points, five blocks and a steal.
“Haley has had a great season and tonight was no exception,” head coach Chris Allred said. “She did a great job and did the things that she needed to. Her teammates did a good job of giving her the ball in the right spot.”
The win gave Desert Hills (10-2 Region 9, 19-2 overall) a share of the Region 9 championship along with Cedar, a 56-52 winner over Snow Canyon. A coin toss today will determine whether Desert Hills or Cedar gets the No. 1 seed.
“It’s so exciting,” Bodnar said. “We were waiting for this day, and we knew that we needed to come out and work hard. That’s what we did. We knew that even though we’ve won our games, it’s not over and we still had (the Pine View) game to look forward to.”
Allred said this was a perfect way to show respect to the Desert Hills seniors.
“I was proud of our girls,” Allred said. “Tonight was a good way of sending off our seniors. (It was) their last region home game, so it was great to go out on top.”
The Thunder were up 27-14 at the half when Allred told his players to pick up the defense.
“Our defensive transition wasn’t very good and we gave them a lot of uncontested shots,” Allred said. “The second half (we) just challenged them to do better in transition, get back and stop the ball, and make them earn their shots.”
The Thunder then limited the Panthers (0-12, 2-19) to 10 points the second half.
“We played in spurts,” Allred said. “There were spurts where we played really well, and then there were times where it was a little bit sloppy. Overall, any time you can hold a team to 24 points and score 65, you’ve got to feel pretty good about it.”
Like many other teams, the Thunder have their sights on taking the state championship. They’ll need to win four games in an eight-day span, something they came close to accomplishing a year ago.
However, Snow Canyon beat Desert Hills in the 2012 3A championship game, something the Thunder players hope to avenge.
“Ever since last season, it’s just fueled our fire,” Bodnar said. “We got to the state championship game last year, and we have unfinished business to take care of.”
Allred said the team will be extremely focused preparing for the state tournament.
“We will concentrate a lot on defense and making sure that we defend teams that we’re playing,” Allred said. “Offensively we’ll concentrate on execution and making sure that we work to get good shots.”
Regardless of how the coin drops, Desert Hills’ objective remains the same.
“Your records go back to zero-zero and everything we’ve done up to this point doesn’t make any difference, so now we just have to make sure that we end the season like we began the season — getting off to a fast start and playing well,” Allred said.
Desert Hills guard Blair Bliss added 10 points. Melissa Judd led Pine View with seven points.