Girls 3A State Tournament: Cedar joins SC, PV in semifinals with win over Juan Diego

Cedar vs. Juan Diego, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Girls Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 25, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

CEDAR CITY – Cedar overcame some hot shooting from defending 3A champion Juan Diego to pull out a 50-45 victory in the last quarterfinal of the night Thursday in SUU’s Centrum Arena.

cedar-logojuan-diego-logo The game was the last of eight played on Thursday and began at 9:15 p.m.

“Our coaches did a good job on keeping us with our pregame routine,” said Cedar guard Hannah Williams. “We were very anxious to get out on the court.”

The Lady Reds got to play the lower-seeded Soaring Eagle in their own backyard in Cedar City.

“We played them earlier in the year,” said Cedar coach John Elison. “But they were without their starting point guard (Mia Berenguer). We knew she was a good player and were not sure how much of an impact she would have against us.”

Cedar's  Dream Weaver (00), Cedar vs. Juan Diego, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Girls Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 25, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Cedar’s Dream Weaver (00), Cedar vs. Juan Diego, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Girls Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 25, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Williams helped Cedar jump out to a 9-4 lead early with six points. The Soaring Eagle scored the next five points to bring it to 9-9 with 2:55 remaining in the first quarter. Carly Davis scored the last four points for Cedar to pull the Lady Reds into a 14-14 tie at the end of the first.

The teams continued to trade baskets early in the second quarter. Critical to both teams was that their leading scorers both got into foul trouble. JDHS’s Becca Curran and CHS’s Courtney Morley both found themselves next to their coaches after picking up their third fouls.

Cedar put together a 7-1 run towards the end of the half. Lindsey Robinson’s high arcing 3-pointer from the right side with 1:35 remaining put the Lady Reds up 25-19. A late basket by Patricia Tavake brought Juan Diego to within four going into halftime.

Williams and Davis led Cedar with eight points apiece at halftime. Curran led Juan Diego with eight points.

“Juan Diego’s defense was really tight on us tonight,” said Williams. “Coach has taught us that when your defender plays you tight to drive around her. I got to the basket more than I usually do.”

Cedar's  Maisie Elison (33), Cedar vs. Juan Diego, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Girls Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 25, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Cedar’s Maisie Elison (33), Cedar vs. Juan Diego, 3A State Basketball Tournament, Girls Basketball, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 25, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Into the third quarter, Cedar continued its stingy defense from the second quarter, limiting the Soaring Eagle to only eight points. The Lady Reds put up 14. Williams and Morley both chipped in four. Jessica Whetman also hit a 3-pointer in the run. Prescilla Ziegler’s putback with one minute remaining gave Cedar a 38-27 lead. Curran hit two free throws with two seconds left to pull Juan Diego back within single digits.

Curran hit back-to-back 3-pointers to pull Juan Diego to within four 41-37 with 5:20 remaining in the game. Williams answered with a trey of her own. That was followed up with a fast-break layup from Davis and, less than a minute later, the lead was back to nine, 46-37.

Juan Diego suffered a big blow when Curran fouled out shortly afterward. The reigning champions would claw back, but never got closer than the final score, 50-45.

Individually, Williams led Cedar with 15 points. Davis joined her in double figures with 10. Curran led Juan Diego with 18 points. Bryn Drummond scored 13.

“Hannah Williams had a great game tonight,” said Elison. “It has been great watching her grow and develop. She was aggressive going to the basket tonight.”

Cedar improves to 19-5 and will face Carbon in the semifinals Friday night at 5:50 p.m. Juan Diego falls to 15-6 and will play Stansbury in the consolation bracket Friday morning at 11:10 a.m.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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