3A girls quarterfinals should be entertaining

Published: Monday, Feb. 20 2012 10:23 p.m. MST

Team-by-team 3A girls state tournament capsules.

There will be a lot of uncertainty at Dixie State College this Thursday evening when the 3A girls basketball state tournament reconvenes with the quarterfinals.

Most of the teams are playing four to five hours away from home, half don't even have tournament experience to draw upon from last year, and then there's the reality that the majority of the elite players in 3A are underclassmen.

All together, it should make for a very entertaining tournament.

"I think any of the eight teams that go down can put three good games together and win it," said Morgan coach Brad Matthews. "I don't think there's a real dominant team."

Of all the teams though, Snow Canyon is probably a favorite after an impressive regular season that included winning the Region 9 title.

Snow Canyon kicks off quarterfinal action on Thursday as it faces Bear River at 4:10 p.m. That game will be followed by Juan Diego-Juab at 5:50 p.m., Judge-Carbon and 7:30 p.m. and Morgan-Desert Hills at 9 p.m.

Juab, Carbon and Morgan are the only three teams who participated in last year's 3A quarterfinals at the University of Utah. Snow Canyon, however, did advance to the quarterfinals in 4A last year.

Snow Canyon is led by three juniors, all of who average in double figures. Amy Harris is among the 3A scoring leaders at 15.5 ppg, while Autmn Shipp averages 12.8 ppg and Megan Leavitt 10.2 ppg.

The Warriors are among the six teams whose top scorers are underclassmen.

"It seems like every 3A team has a lot of young kids," said Matthews.

Region 11 champion Morgan is led by sophomore Rashel Blazzard, who averages 14.0 points per game, one of three starting sophomores.

Region 10 champion Juan Diego is led by freshman Monique Mills and Dominique Mills, who averaged 12.5 and 9.8 ppg respectively. Region runner-up Judge is led by sophomore Kailie Quinn, whose averaged a double-double this year with 18.7 ppg and 10.3 rpg.

Region 9 runner-up Desert Hills is led by three sophomores and a junior, with sophomore Blair Bliss averaging 11.7 ppg.

Most of these youngsters stars have never played in a big-game atmosphere like they'll experience this Thursday.

Only Carbon coach Ted Bianco and Juab coach Brady Farr know quite what to expect from their teams. Carbon's five top scorers are senior, many of who played in last year's 3A championship game loss to Emery. Juab, meanwhile, relies on three seniors, who were all key contributors to last year's semifinal run.

Last year Region 12 No. 2 seed Emery came into the playoffs under the radar, but strung three games together.

"They're the team that came in and played well, and got the championship because it," said Matthews.

Email: jedward@desnews.com

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