It wasn’t supposed to happen like that.
After six games in Region 13 play, the Lady Trojans were undefeated and well-positioned to capture the region title. All they had to do to wrap it up was beat Grantsville at home last Thursday. The Trojans had already defeated the Cowboys in Grantsville, so a victory on their own court was certainly within the realm of possibility. It was also Senior Night, so there really was no better way to finish it off.
And then they played the game.
It went fine for a few minutes, and the Trojans even had a 10-8 lead after the first quarter. But it all kind of fell apart in the second. The Trojans were unable to find the basket, and the Cowboys had their way inside. When they weren’t scoring on easy layups, the Cowboys were parading to the free throw line, where they converted 20-of-23 foul shots.
The end result for Morgan was a disappointing 58-45 loss that put the Trojans’ quest for a region championship in doubt.
“Grantsville didn’t do one thing that our girls didn’t prepare for,” MHS coach Kade Morrell said. “But our girls just stayed out on the perimeter rather than doing what we had planned all week. Unfortunately, Grantsville’s half zone was very effective against us tonight.
“Once (the Cowboys) hit a few shots, that rim just grew,” Morrell added. “They just kind of took over and had what they wanted when they wanted it.”
Marcie Stapley led Morgan’s effort with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Lisa Blazzard and Jaci Jensen added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
With Grantsville’s blowout win over Judge Memorial on Tuesday, the Trojans and Cowboys entered the final game of the season with identical 6-1 records in league play. In the event of a tie at the end of the season, it’s possible that playoff seeding will be determined by a simple coin flip. But that was Morrell’s understanding as of last Thursday. Anything could have changed between then and now.
If the Trojans finish as the top seed out of Region 13, they will compete in the 3A play-in tournament at 3:10 p.m. next Friday. If Morgan ends up in second place, they’ll play at 10:10 a.m. All games will be played at Wasatch High School. Winners will then advance to the 3A tournament at Dixie State University in St. George Feb. 22-24.
Seeding in the playoffs is rather important. A No. 2 seeding would put the Lady Trojans on the same side of the bracket as Emery, along with a potential second-round matchup against the Spartans. However, a No. 1 seeding would put the Trojans on the opposite side of the bracket as the Spartans, who are widely considered the top team in 3A this year.