ST. GEORGE — In the first round of the Class 4A girls basketball tournament Wednesday, the No. 14 ranked Hurricane Tigers welcomed in the No. 19 Ogden Tigers.
The game started rather slow, with both teams being tied at the 5:30 mark of the second half. Hurricane’s offense then took off, outscoring Ogden 19-4 in the final five minutes of the first half to take a 15-point lead at halftime. Hurricane kept the momentum from there, winning 63-44 at home.
“We knew we had to come out and play them really tough with our press because we knew that they had some very quick players. but we know that our press is strong,” Hurricane head coach Shelly Thomas said. “We started off a little slow, and then the momentum just got with us. We started making our layups, making our threes, and we had some players step up that needed to step up at that time.”
The advantage that Hurricane got out of playing Ogden was facing their 2-3 zone defense. This is an advantage because Desert Hills runs the same zone defense, just with a different lineup.
“That’s what Desert Hills does, so I know that was excellent preparation for us,” Thomas said. “A lot of other schools will play a man, but like us, we just go zone, and so does Desert Hills. It was good preparation to try and get us ready for Saturday.”
With Ogden’s zone, they did not have much length or size, but Desert Hills has a very lengthy back line of their zone paired with pressuring guards on top. Where Ogden sat back and let the offense come to then, Desert Hills will pester the Hurricane ball handlers at the top of the key and then get deflections and cause turnovers as well.
Another key for Hurricane is going to be their rebounding, both offensively and defensively. In the zone defense they play and in a zone defense in general, rebounding is always a big factor. It is harder to rebound out of a zone because there isn’t an assigned player but rather an assigned area.
“We’ve just got to make sure we get our rebounds offensively and defensively,” Thomas said. “If we only get one shot every time, we’re not going to be able to win.”
The Tigers lost the first matchup with Desert Hills by just six point, 39-33, but they lost the second matchup by 20 points.
“We’ve just got to mentally not think of it as Desert Hills,” Thomas said. “We lost to them twice. We’ve got to play them like we have these last three games – just come out and play them strong and mentally be ready to play. We’re in the state tournament now – it’s do or die. We’ve got to win now.”
Hurricane travels to Desert Hills where they will take on the Thunder on Saturday.
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