RICHFIELD — Two-time defending champ Rich was well aware of the challenges that Whitehorse could present when the Rebels and Raiders collided in the quarterfinal round of the 1A girls basketball tournament Thursday inside the Sevier Valley Center.
The Rich Rebels knew that Whitehorse could score in bunches, that it could hit 3-pointers from all over the court and that it would be lethal in transition.
From start to finish, though, Rich largely never let those things happen.
Indeed, the Rebels put the clamps on Whitehorse from the start of the first quarter until the end of the fourth quarter, and the end product was a commanding win and a place in the semifinals, as Rich played really good defense throughout and got balanced scoring at the other end to post a 53-34 victory.
"We knew it would be up and down, so it was just good to get," said Rich coach Scott Ferguson. "They're all capable of shooting, and you never know who's gonna hit them at any given time. So we just wanted to be up and in their face so they didn't get a good look."
More often than that, that's precisely what happened.
Whitehorse star Maray Filfred finished with a game-high 18 points, but the Rebels never let her or her talented teammates go on any potentially game-changing runs.
"We knew we had to shut them down," said Rich star Ashley Argyle. "That's been our goal all state, is to just shut (people) down. We don't want them to get open shots because we know sometimes people get on fire, and we don't want that to happen to us."
It didn't happen against Whitehorse.
Leading 31-18 at halftime, Rich ripped off a quick 8-0 run to start the third quarter and never looked back. The Rebels wound up leading by 17 points at the end of the third before going on another run midway through the fourth to really ice the game.
That Rich played pretty well in the third quarter was particularly pleasing to the Rebels, who have struggled mightily at that point in games this season.3 comments on this story
"We always have trouble with our third quarters, so it's our goal that — third quarters we have to come out as hard as possible because sometimes we let up on them," said Argyle. "We just tried our hardest."
"We've had girls that can score all year, so it's just good," Ferguson said of his team's balance. "If one's kind of struggling, somebody else will step up and take their place."