ST. GEORGE — In their first game of the season, the Snow Canyon Warriors took on Class 5A Box Elder. The Warriors came out a little rough in the first half – going into halftime up by four points – but they came to life in the second half, eventually winning 48-38.
Both coach Dan Roden and player Rachel Durante attributed the haphazard play in the first half to some first game jitters.
“They were very amped up and very excited,” Roden said. “We were throwing 100 mile an hour fastballs on passes and trying to shoot before we caught the ball, just going way too fast. We want to play fast, but at the same time we want to stay under control.”
After some unforced errors and empty possessions in the first half, the Warriors settled in. Their ball movement in the second half helped their offense, while they were penetrating into the defense and causing rotations. Those rotations opened up the Warriors’ bigs down low for some easy dump down passes.
“It opened up the lane for penetration, for passes to the post, kick outs to shooters, and that’s because they were more patient,” Roden said of the difference. “(We) just ran through our stuff and let things happen instead of trying to force everything.”
Their ability to attract the defense on penetration and then find the open player, whether it was a shooter or their post player down low, is really what set them apart from Box Elder.
“We were finding our posts really well tonight,” Durante said. “It’s an easy layup, so why not get it.”
The big takeaway from Snow Canyon’s preseason preview was their defensive scheme. They want to close on gaps, making it hard for teams to penetrate and force the defense into rotations. There were a couple possessions where it was particularly good, including one with three drives, and none of the Box Elder players were able to get near the paint.
“There were times where we got lax on the backside or when the ball was reversed we didn’t get into the gap quick enough, and they got some penetration,” Roden said. “It’s learning stuff. Obviously the more they do it, the better they’ll get.”
Another big issue for the Warriors was the foul trouble. They had three starters with four fouls at the start of the fourth quarter. None of them fouled out, but they stopped gambling when trying to force turnovers. That will be a big key for Snow Canyon moving forward.
This game was a part of the Desert Hills girls basketball tournament, but due to some issues with their basketball court, all games on Friday and Saturday will be played at Crimson Cliffs. Games start at 4:30 p.m. on Friday and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.
As for Snow Canyon, they take on Salem Hills at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, with the game being played at the Crimson Cliffs main gym.
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