High school basketball: Maple Mountain snaps out of early-game funk, rolls to victory in 4A quarterfinals
TAYLORSVILLE — Who says that starting slow is the recipe for failure?
Tell that to Maple Mountain, who found themselves trailing Olympus in the first quarter of the girls' 4A quarterfinals at Salt Lake Community College Thursday.
Not only were the Golden Eagles behind on the scoreboard; but also, their offense was stagnant — struggling mightily with the Titan's half-court trap. Things needed to change, and they needed to change quickly.
Then, suddenly, as if the clouds had parted to reveal the light, Maple Mountain started to flat out dominate as if it was scripted that way en route to a 54-29 win.
"We actually were prepared for the trap, we just needed to settle down and execute what we had worked on," said Maple Mountain coach Cory Green. "Once we did that, made some solid passes, cut were we wanted to cut, to break the trap, we were fine.
"Honestly I can't point out one girl, I thought we had really balanced scoring this evening. We crashed the boards and rebounded well, which was the focus of tonight's game. I really feel tonight was a team effort. Balanced scoring, balanced rebounding."
The Eagles, would eventually close the gap in the second quarter to 15-13 after the shaky start. Then, they ventured on runs of 7-0, and 8-4 to close out the first half 28-19.
The runs were a direct correlation to the upped tempo on the defensive end of the floor. At the beginning of the game, Olympus seemingly scored at will — mostly behind Rachel Vandertoolen and Jennifer Nichols.
The offensive nirvana ended at the snap of a finger for Olympus. Lanes began to close, shooters started to suffocate and turnovers came aplenty.
"We stayed low, we moved our feet," said Green. "We didn't foul nearly as much as we did Tuesday night, we played fundamentally sound defense tonight. I think that was the difference in the ballgame."
The second quarter proved no fluke, as the third quarter looked much of the same as Maple Mountain outscored Olympus 16-8 and 10-2 in the fourth to live another day.
Every player on Maple Mountain had jotted BB23 in red ink on their left calf in honor of Breanna Bate who suffered a season-ending knee surgery.
"(She) was one of our team leaders as a junior. She went out with an ACL injury in our second game of the year," Green said. "She's one of those glue kids that keeps the team together and working hard. They have a tremendous amount of respect for her, and I think that's their way of showing (it).
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