Visiting Snow Canyon (10-1) upended the home Thunder 52-49 in a game with the Region 9 title on the line. The Lady Warriors were defeated at home by Desert Hills just a little over three weeks ago (Jan. 17.), but they were thankful that another opportunity to play Desert Hills existed. Snow Canyon’s superstar Amy Harris admitted to marking the game with their cross-town rival on her mental calendar.
“I think at the final buzzer at the last game, we’ve been anxious to get back to this game,” Harris said. “I’ve never been so excited for a game in my life.
“This is huge. The beginning was really rough for us but we found a way.”
Desert Hills won the first quarter 13-9 based on Haley Bodnar’s and Blair Bliss’s (four points apiece) work. In the second quarter, an unassuming Warrior made the crowd and players aware of her abilities, and gave Snow Canyon a lift.
Junior center Madison Gubler entered the game to alleviate foul trouble by Snow Canyon starter Megan Leavitt. Gubler did more than just hold the water; she stood out with a gritty performance, finishing with 12 points, three rebounds, and most impressively, she was money at the free throw line when her team needed such solid execution.
She finished the game going 8 of 8 from the charity stripe, hit 2 of 3 field goals, in addition to having the assignment of going up against one of the best players in the region (Bodnar).
Snow Canyon coach Wade Jensen asked his junior center to deliver in the critical game.
“Haley Bodnar is a physical post player, probably one of the best post players we’ve played all year, she causes problems,” Jensen said. “She’s a matchup problem.
“I can’t say enough about Maddie Gubler, coming off the bench, and we asked her to play physical and she did exactly that.”
In the second quarter, Gubler and Harris combined for 11 of the Warriors’ 14 points and the teams went into the locker room with one point separating them: Desert Hills 24-23.
The teams traded leads for most of five minutes of the third quarter. Desert Hills was leading 29-27, and then Grace Walton hit a three-pointer for the Warriors to go up 30-29. Autumn Shipp followed that with an And-1 three-score to push the Snow Canyon lead to 33-29. The Warriors would never relinquish the lead.
They ended up outscoring the Thunder 13-9 in the third quarter and held a 36-33 advantage. Gubler tallied six points in the quarter (4 free throws) and a field goal.
“Oh my gosh. Huge game,” said Harris about her teammate Gubler. “Huge game for her. We wouldn’t have won without her, no doubt.
“She played outstanding.”
Snow Canyon started the fourth determined to put away the game. They built a nine-point lead (43-34) halfway through, but the Thunder would not wilt. Desert Hills fought back to within four points (46-42) after a Bliss jumper with 55 seconds remaining.
The last three and a half minutes were a time of fouling by the Desert Hills' defense. It was half of the formula to help themselves close the gap. Snow Canyon was up to the task though.
Snow Canyon drained 10 of 13 fourth quarter free throws to hold off the Thunder charge. Harris sunk 5 of 6 from the line, Gubler was 2 of 2, and Shipp was 2 of 3.
Gubler was asked about her game, the pressure of making free throws, and the responsibilities of coming off the bench and performing solidly.
“I just had to think positive thoughts and have confidence in myself,” Gubler said about having an unusual number of opportunities at the free throw line.
“She’s (Bodnar) a great physical player and I just tried my best to defend her without fouling.”
“It was a lot of fun.”
Coach Jensen was pleased afterwards that his team won at Desert Hills, getting them back for their win at Snow Canyon a few weeks back—and winning the region title was nice too.
“They’re a good team, I feel like we’re a good team,” said Jensen. “It’s just two good teams playing and we’re grateful to be on top.”
Harris led the Warriors with 18 points and Shipp finished with 11.
Bodnar led the Thunder with 18 and Bliss added 14.
THURSDAY GIRLS BASKETBALL RESULTS
Hurricane over Canyon View 42-32
Dixie over Pine View 59-37
Snow Canyon over Desert Hills 52-49
REGION 9 GIRLS BASKETBALL STANDINGS
Snow Canyon 10-1 (14-5 overall)
Desert Hills 9-3 (15-6)
Cedar 7-4 (16-4)
Dixie 6-5 (13-7)
Hurricane 4-7 (7-12)
Canyon View 3-8 (5-14)
Pine View 0-11 (4-15)