High school girls basketball: Alta edges Weber on clutch free throws
TAYLORSVILLE — Makenzi Morrison stood at the foul line and tried to remember that foul shots are easy.
She thought about the mechanics of the shot and pushed from her mind the magnitude of winning a first round playoff game for the first time in her high school career.
"I was a little nervous," said Morrison, after she made both shots and earned Alta a 45-43 victory over Weber in the first round of the 5A State Tournament Monday night. "I try to think of foul shots as a layup for myself. I like to draw the foul."
Before Monday night's win, Morrison had never won a game on a last second shot.
"That was huge," said Alta head coach Kristi Jensen. "Those were the biggest shots of Makenzi's career."
Every year the Hawks have a goal of winning that first round game, Morrison said. And in her freshman and sophomore year, they fell short of that goal.
"This is a huge win for us," said Jensen. "It's been all day waiting to play, and that was a tough game. Weber is a good team. ... We haven't won past the first round in a lot of years. It feels good to be here."
Morrison led all scorers with 20 points, while Lexi Garland added 10 points..
Morrison said the team came into the tournament confident despite have some roller-coaster moments during region play.
"My coach said, 'What happened in region doesn't matter anymore'," she said.. "Everyone is 0-0; everyone wants the same thing — a state title."
The game was tight from the opening tip off. Neither team could build up much of a lead, especially in the second half. Alta has some key defensive plays in the final minutes, including a steal and forcing a turnover. They also ran down the clock from 1:20 to 7.8 seconds, which is when Morrison was fouled. It was a one-and-one, and she made both.
"My teammates teased me that it touched every part of the rim," she laughed. "But it went in. That's what matters."
Jayda Bavero led the Warriors with 12 points, while Desiree Young added 10 points.
The Hawks will take on Riverton at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday.
Morrison said she took heart in the fact that Lone Peak was upset in the first round of play.
"I was shocked," she said of Pleasant Grove's win. "It gave me more hope. ... records don't matter. This is the state tournament and anything can happen."
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