ST. GEORGE – The 3A Girls State Tournament is down to its final eight teams and four of those teams are from southern Utah.
Lower seeds Dixie and Snow Canyon pulled off road wins and Desert Hills and Cedar took care of business at home as the region is part way to its goal of qualifying all four teams for the state semifinals.
Dixie got the biggest upset. The fourth seed from Region 9 waltzed into Draper and the Juan Diego Soaring Eagle gymnasium and left as 51-39 victors. Dixie will play Carbon at 5:50 p.m. Thursday at Weber State.
Snow Canyon lost the final regular season game and dropped to the third seed, meaning a trip to Judge Memorial. But the defending state champs also got a road win, downing the Bulldogs 61-57. SC will play Delta Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Desert Hills bashed Wasatch 62-49 and will play Thursday’s 9 p.m. game against Morgan. Cedar blasted Uintah and plays the 4:10 p.m. game Thursday against Bear River.
Desert Hills 62, Wasatch 49
Blair Bliss and Whitni Atkin knew complacency could be a problem in a game in which the Lady Thunder were heavily favored to win. In fact, the two hustling guards’ top goal was to make sure Wasatch had no chance in this game.
The Thunder used that hustle and a distinct size advantage to overwhelm the Lady Wasps 62-49 Saturday evening in the Thunderdome.
“When you play as hard as (Blair and Whitni) do, you’re always going to have something positive happen,” DH coach Chris Allred said. “That’s been Blair’s M.O. and Whitni’s the same way.”
With Bliss flying around the floor and Atkin taking advantage of Wasatch’s double-teams on Haley Bodnar, Desert Hills went on an 8-0 first half run to seize the lead and a 10-1 third quarter run to put the game away.
“The key to our runs is our energy and being smart,” Bliss said. “After halftime we just kind of said, ‘Hey, let’s win this third quarter and get it over with.'”
Atkin, one of just two seniors on the Desert Hills roster, said she knew that jitters and complacency could be a problem in this playoff game.
“Blair brings a lot of intensity and makes me want to play hard,”Atkin said. “As a captain and senior, I feel like I need to bring that attitude of staying focused and playing hard all the time, too.”
Despite the double-teams, Bodnar led her team with 18 points while Bliss added 16. Emily Seifert had and Atkin and Kassidy Cox had six each. All the starters got to watch most of the fourth quarter from the bench in the blowout as the lead ballooned to as many as 25.
Karlee Myers was injured early in the fourth quarter when she landed hard on her back. But the junior forward said she was fine after the game.
Dixie 51, Juan Diego 39
Kelsey McCann and Caroline Lantor scored 14 points each as the Lady Flyers looked strong on the road.
Aubri Challis added 10 more as Dixie forged a 24-14 halftime lead. Juan Diego pulled to within four in the second half, but the Lady Flyers held the Soaring Eagle at bay behind decent free throw shooting (22 of 32 for 68 percent).
Snow Canyon 61, Judge Memorial 57
Megan Leavitt had 21 points and Amy Harris added 13 as the Lady Warriors prevailed in this see saw affair. Grace Walton will require stitches after cutting her head in a collision in the second half, but should be fine for action next Thursday.
SC dominated the glass and it showed with Leavitt snagging 17 boards and Madie Gubler grabbing 13 rebounds.
Cedar 70, Uintah 40
Tara Shipp led the Lady Reds to the easy victory, scoring 16 points, and three other Cedar players scored in double-figures.
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