Desert Hill vs. Cedar, 3A State Girls Basketball, Logan, Utah, Feb. 25, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
LOGAN – Juan Diego’s Trista Vawdrey hit two free throws with 2.7 seconds left as the Soaring Eagle captured the 3A girls state championship Saturday at the Smith Spectrum on the campus of Utah State University with a 34-32 victory over Richfield.
In the only game involving southern Utah teams, Desert Hills beat Cedar 35-32 with Elly Williams hitting the go-ahead basket with just seconds remaining. The win gives Desert Hills fifth place at the state tourney.
Morgan beat Carbon in the third-place game 47-45 with Brookelyn Hurlbut scoring 20 points to lead the Trojans to the win. Hurlbut’s 3-pointer with 11 seconds left provided the winning points.
In the championship game, Juan Diego avenged a 12-point loss to Richfield earlier in the season and gives the Soaring Eagle its second title in the past three years. Becca Curran, the tournament MVP, had 17 points and had briefly put JD ahead 32-30 with under two minutes to play with a pair of free throws.
All-tourney performer Caitlyn Nabity tied the game moments later with a driving layup in traffic to make it 32-all and set up the final drive and free throws by Vawdrey.
In the Desert Hills-Cedar game, the Lady Reds led by as many as 12 points in the first half behind the shooting of Japrix Weaver and Lindsey Robinson.
It was 24-12 just prior to halftime after a Robinson 3-pointer. But Morgan Myers matched it at the other end for the Thunder to make it a 24-15 score at intermission and the big shot seemed to ignite Desert Hills. The Thunder outscored Cedar 10-2 in the third quarter with Ashley Beckstrand hitting a jumper in the closing seconds to make it just a one-point game at 26-25.
In the fourth quarter, the lead see-sawed back and forth with Maisie Elison giving the Lady Reds their last lead of the game at 32-30 with 34 seconds to play.
Beckstrand drew a foul at the other end and buried both free throws to tie the game at 32-32. After a Cedar turnover, Beckstrand got off a shot for the lead, but missed short. Williams rebounded and banked the ball back into the hoop, drawing a foul on the play.
Though she missed the free throw, Beckstrand grabbed the offensive rebound and D-Hills hit a free throw to push the lead to three. A desperation heave at the buzzer was well off the mark and the Thunder were able to secure the win.
Beckstrand had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Desert Hills, which won two of three from Cedar on the season. The Thunder end the year with a 20-4 record. Williams had 11 points and seven boards and Myers finished with nine points.
For Cedar, 18-7, Weaver and Robinson had eight points each and Carley Davis led the team with nine rebounds.
3A STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS (@ USU)
CHAMPIONSHIP Juan Diego 34, Richfield 32
Juan Diego 53, Carbon 50
Richfield 48, Morgan 40
QUARTERFINAL RESULTS UPPER BRACKET Carbon 59, Desert Hills 44
Juan Diego 44, Union 34 LOWER BRACKET
Richfield 42, Cedar 40 (F/OT)
Morgan 56, Grantsville 49
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andy Griffin has been in sports media since 1989 and has covered BYU, Utah State and the Utah Jazz as well as all sports in southern Utah. A journalism graduate of USU, Andy has carried on a dual career as both a sports writer and a sports broadcaster and has been heard around the country. He has also been published in USA Today, Sport magazine, The Sporting News, Fairways magazine, the Los Angeles Times and locally in the Deseret News, the Salt Lake Tribune and the Spectrum. Andy was “The Voice of Region 9 sports,” for many years. He also hosted a daily sports talk show for three years called AG in the a.m.
Andy has been married to his college sweetheart Shelly for 28 years and has five children ages 13 to 25.