CEDAR CITY A good start to the season last week against Beaver continued Tuesday for Cedar with a 59-32 win at home against Enterprise.
Lisa Ballenger scored a game-high 22 points and the Lady Reds used a fourth quarter surge to come out ahead of a physical Enterprise team that simply refused to give up.
Courtney Morley added 14 including 10 in the first half to help Cedar improve to 2-0 for the season.
The loss sends Enterprise to 0-2.
“We just knew we had to step it up and get our defense going,” Morley said of the challenge the Reds faced in staving off a tough Wolves offense that kept the game close until late in the third quarter. “We changed our defense as fast as we could and got back to where we wanted to be.”
Cedar had a 32-19 lead at the half but Enterprise opened the third period with a 6-1 run on a pair of buckets and two foul shots that closed it to 33-25.
But a three-point shot by Javlyn Weaver pushed the lead back to 11 points and sparked Cedar’s offense en route to a 9-2 run of its own to close the frame with a 43-27 advantage.
Neither team shot well from the foul line throughout the game but an 8-of-22 Enterprise effort over the second and third quarters kept them from making the contest a little tighter.
Cedar coach John Elison recognized how close the game could have been had the Wolves improved their free throw shooting and made some changes before they got the chance.
“We kept hacking them,” Elison said. “They were attacking well and we kept putting them on the line. So we shifted into a zone and it shut down our (fouls). It slowed them down and we were able to spread the gap.”
With the game back in control the Reds outscored the Wolves 16-5 in the fourth quarter to put it away.
Cedar did itself a favor in the game’s opening minutes by adjusting to Enterprise’s defense which had shut down the lane and made shooting from the inside nearly impossible.
“I knew it would be an outright battle,” Elison said. “Enterprise is a team I always love to play because they bust their tails and they’re just a tough inside team. They don’t let you in the middle and they rebound well.”
The answer was to shoot from the outside, where the Reds were 4-of-8 in the first quarter, three coming from Ballenger.
“When Ballenger hit those threes, it just got us pumped,” said Morley, who had the fourth trey and added another in the second quarter. “It was just a great feeling.”
Enterprise was led by Riley Lyman, who scored 14 points and came up with several big blocks.
Even in the loss Lyman was able to find a few positives.
“I feel like we were working really hard, just hustling our (tails) off,” Lyman said. “We knew Cedar was going to be physical and were going to be good shooters; we just came out and tried our hardest. We go as hard as we can because every ball counts.”
Bulldogs 80, Thunder 43
What a difference a game can make. After the Desert Hills girls basketball team routed Enterprise, 79-40, last week, it was the Thunder who were on the receiving end of a blowout this time.
Desert Hills faced one of the top schools from Nevada in Centennial and it showed early and often. The Bulldogs rushed out to a 32-point lead at the half and cruised to an 80-43 victory. Centennial had revenge on its mind after being routed by Desert Hills at home.
Kenzie Done led the Thunder with 18 points. Rylee Jensen and Jazmine Olivas contributed six points apiece and Elly Williams chipped in five.
Desert Hills was without their leading scorer in Ashley Beckstrand, who is still recovering from surgery after the game against Enterprise. Surgery went well and Beckstrand should be back in uniform in a couple of weeks, coach Gary Tomlinson said.
The Thunder won’t have much time to dwell on the loss as they host the Desert Hills Tournament this coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Teams from all over the state will be in town as the Thunder look to regroup and get back on track.
Additional reporting by Justin Giles.