OGDEN – Not surprisingly, Morgan’s coaching staff decided to make someone from Desert Hills besides Haley Bodnar beat them.
Also not surprisingly, the Desert Hills guards and defense stepped up and buried the Trojans in a 42-20 walkover late Thursday night here at the Dee Events Center and the Utah State 3A Girls Basketball Tournament.
With or without the ball, Bodnar, DH’s dynamic center, faced a constant double and triple team. So Blair Bliss and the other Thunder guards went to work.
“Our guards did a good job in that first quarter of hitting some perimeter shots,” DH coach Chris Allred said. “They were really packing it in on the post with Haley, so they left us open on the perimeter.”
But even with the guards helping out and Bodnar still getting her points (she had 10), the real story was once again defense here at the state tournament. Desert Hills actually shut out the Trojans in the first quarter, gaining a 10-0 lead after one. Morgan’s first basket came at the 7:10 mark of the second quarter.
The Lady Thunder allowed eight in the second quarter and 10 in the third, but then held Morgan to just two in the fourth quarter. It was an impressive example of tenaciousness and effort. And all this was against a 19-2 Morgan team that many picked to win state.
“Defensively we did what we needed to,” Allred said. “We did a good job of contesting their shots and just made it difficult for them to score.”
Astoundingly, Morgan shot just 12 percent from the floor in the game, hitting on just 4 of 34 shots. Only one MHS player, Lisa Van Campen, made more than one field goal, and she had only two in leading her team with seven points. Mackenzie Schenk, the Trojans dynamic forward who averages 17 points a game, scored just five points in the game, all from the free throw line.
Meanwhile, Bliss, Emily Seifert, and Alyssa Tomlinson were taking advantage of the Bodnar double-teams to hit open shots. All four of the aforementioned players scored at least five points.
“If we just had Haley Bodnar than I think it would be a lot tougher, but everybody out there does their job and every player has an important role,” Bliss said.
The win sets up an all-Region 9 semifinals at the state tournament. Dixie and Cedar play at 12:50 p.m. In the first emi and following that game (at approximately 2:30 p.m.) the Thunder and Snow Canyon Lady Warriors will do battle. SC beat Desert Hills in the championship game last year in the Burns Arena in St. George and the two teams have split a pair of games this season.
“I love the rivalry,” Atkin said. “It’ll definitely be the game to watch. There will be a lot of intensity and kind of a revenge from last year.”
Desert Hills, 21-2, got six assists from Bliss and Atkin had six rebounds. Bliss said she is happy that the Thunder and Warriors will meet again.
“I don’t know who I’d rather be playing,” Bliss said. “They beat us last year in the championship game, so we’ll see how it goes. It should be fun.”
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