CEDAR CITY — John Stockton and Karl Malone never got to hoist that championship trophy together. Blair Bliss and Haley Bodnar, doing their best Stockton and Malone impressions at the 3A State Championship Saturday at SUU, finally got their gold trophy.
With Bodnar pounding it down low and Bliss stealing, passing and shooting away, the Lady Thunder captured their first girls basketball state championship with a 57-43 victory over Morgan at the Centrum Arena.
Bodnar had 12 points and 5 blocked shots and Bliss scored 17 points and had 5 steals as Desert Hills led virtually the entire game. Morgan made a run in the third quarter and cut it to five points, but the Thunder defense went in shut-down mode to start the fourth quarter, not allowing the Lady Trojans a single point for more than six minutes as the lead ballooned to 18 points.
“That’s five championship games I’ve coached in, the third one here at Desert Hills and it’s nice to finally get something other than the second-place trophy,” DH coach Chris Allred said. “I’m proud of the girls tonight. I could tell they were ready today.”
Desert Hills led 29-18 at the half, but Morgan got its offense warmed up in the third quarter and scored 16 points in five minutes and had pulled to within 39-34. Jessica Carter hit a pair of baskets in the run it looked as if the Trojans may have a shot at catching the Thunder
But D-Hills finished the third on a 10-3 run. Bliss hit a trey and had a couple of layups and Ashley Beckstrand hit a 3-pointer as well in the run to make it 49-37.
The Desert Hills went into the fourth quarter with defense in mind and Morgan couldn’t get a basket to go to save its life. For six minutes the Trojans couldn’t score. In that time, DH upped the lead to 55-37 and the rest was just icing on the cake.
The game looked like it was going to be a nailbiter early on, with Morgan making a 7-2 run to take a 9-8 lead with 3:35 left in the first quarter. But the DH defense started to make itself known at that point. The Trojans would manage just one point the rest of the quarter as the Thunder would go on a 7-1 run to lead 15-10.
Desert Hills, 25-1, lost its only game to Timpview, a 4A team.
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