Few teams experience history-making seasons, but the 2013-2014 Lady Trojans are deepening their legacy with each successive game.
A good team, as with other facets of life, constantly strives for improvement. The Trojans come well prepared to every contest and do not look past any opponent. Last Friday night the Trojans demonstrated this philosophy in front of their home crowd by defeating Uintah High School in a resounding fashion—leading at times by as many as 62 points.
Even with this kind of performance, Head Coach Brad Matthews has instilled the mental discipline among his team that “the next game is the most important game of the season regardless of the competition . . . it is imperative that we get better during each practice and each game.” Morgan has certainly demonstrated this over the past 10 weeks.
How can a team become so competitive? For the Trojans, solid execution on both offense and defense has been key. Most opponents are unable to match up against the intense defensive pressure this team relentlessly applies.
Matthews adds, “The girls are athletic and quick and are very good at anticipating passes and getting steals.” Once the ball is in Morgan’s hands, the options to score are so numerous, opposing teams are unable to shut down the attack. He continues saying, “Every girl on the team can score. I have never coached a team with so many offensive weapons. We can score inside and from the perimeter, which makes it hard for the opponent to focus on just stopping one.”
Morgan quickly took command of the game by staging a 35-10 first quarter rally against Uintah. Two times during the quarter the Utes called timeout, but were unable to even slow the Trojans. By the end of the second quarter Morgan led 50-18.
After half time Morgan scored 20 unanswered points. Uintah didn’t even score a basket in the third quarter—their only points came off free throws. Morgan ended the quarter up 57 points with a score of 78-21. The Lady Trojans subbed out their starters for much of the final period of play. Even with Uintah’s first-string lineup still in the game, they were no match for the Trojans, ultimately succumbing 88-32 to Morgan. This impressive phenomenon has been repeating itself all season long.
Scoring leaders for the Uintah game included Rashel Blazzard with a game high 31 points, Breanna Hurlbut with 19 points, and Jessica Carter with 14 points. Lisa VanCampen pulled down seven rebounds and had three blocks. Both Alli Tonks and Breanna Hurlbut dished out six assists each. Rashel Blazzard contributed five assists in addition to five steals. Morgan shot an incredible 51 percent from the field and 54 percent from three-point range.
Eventually the squeaking of basketball shoes will fade away, and the game horn will yield to silence, but each member of this team will know they were part of something special. Their triumph is greater than their dominance on the court.
Yes, the 17-1 Lady Trojans have walloped their opponents by an average margin of victory of 30 points all season. Yes, they are on a 10-game winning streak and seem destined for a successful post-season run.
However, if sports are a metaphor for life, than these athletes are prepared for an even more successful journey ahead—even after they hang up their basketball shoes.
Legendary basketball coach John Wooden said, “Sports do not build character, they reveal it.” Among our Trojans, each player remains focused on the collective success of the team. They do not play for individual accolades, but selflessly contribute to the team’s goals.
In life, many find it difficult to genuinely celebrate the successes of others ahead of their own. Testifying of their true character, Matthews has observed these girls “get excited when their teammates make a good play and make sure to acknowledge teammates who make a good assist or hustle play.” The girls on this year’s roster have mastered the ability to truly come together and play as a team.
At the end of every practice and before every game, the team chants their motto, “One purpose, one goal, one team.” Coach Matthews summed it up very well by saying, “This motto is helping us to be a team and not just a bunch of individuals with talent.”
The team works hard, practices hard and plays hard. Their success stems from an overwhelming unity in how they play, and is not dependent on the stardom of individual players.
Other lifelong skills these girls have gained throughout the season include leadership, planning and discipline.
When the season started, the girls established team goals and have remained focused on them ever since. Matthews says, “The girls are very conscious of their goals and strive daily to reach them.”
This team has developed confidence in themselves and their teammates, which in turn fosters trust. With trust comes teamwork. Teamwork reinforces the goals of the team and garners greater confidence. This beautiful cycle has been building momentum all season with each revolution, and is clearly evident on the court.
For the season overall, Rashel Blazzard is leading the team in scoring (18.2 points per game), in assists (5.4 per game), and in steals (4.3 per game). Lisa VanCampen is leading the team in rebounds (7.4 per game) and in blocks (3.0 per game).
The complete roster is as follows: Lizzie Peterson, Brookelyn Hurlbut, Abbi Ross, Alli Tonks, Kate Blazzard, Lisa VanCampen, Rashel Blazzard, Breanna Hurlbut, Savanna Brooks, Jessica Carter, Aubrey Saunders, Lily Henry, and Chandler Hipwell.
Exemplifying the same humble and selfless qualities he instills in his team, Coach Matthews graciously expresses appreciation to his staff—Kade Morrell, Dani Murdock, and Randal Clark—“They are great people with huge hearts who give their all to the team. This team wouldn’t be where they are without these three coaches.”
All these coaches have done an incredible job preparing their team not only for basketball, but also for life. One purpose, one goal, one team.