TAYLORSVILLE Weber's convincing victory over the Brighton Bengals on Tuesday was further testament to the overall quality of Region 1. The Warriors defeated the Bengals, 47-31, as they became the third team from the region to advance to the second round.
"You have to really prepare every night or someone will sneak up and beat you," Weber head coach Rick Stoeckl said of the Warriors experience in Region 1. "It's the toughest region in the state. It definitely prepares you for the tournament."
Weber built a large first-half lead in the playoff opener, outscoring their opponent 22-8. The advantage cushioned the blow of a strong third quarter for Brighton - The Bengals rallied to outscore the Warriors 12-8.
"We had to step up our defense," Reichle said. "We knew they were good 3-point shooters." Six of the Bengal's points were earned from beyond the 3-point arc in the quarter's comeback effort.
The fourth quarter opened with a 3-pointer from Brighton's Maddy Chin, cutting the lead to seven, and suggesting a continuation of the surge.
Weber's Erica Olpin would answer back on the very next possession, however, draining a 3-pointer of her own. She sunk another 3-pointer seconds later to regain Weber's momentum in full.
Olpin finished with 11 points and provided veteran leadership throughout the contest. Coach Stoeckl commended the senior for her unselfish play. "She's the most unselfish player She's always pushing others in front of her," he said.
Olpin is not the only selfless Warrior. Stoeckl attributes the team's success to generous play all around. He also noted the importance of great guard play.
Junior Erin Reichle followed up Olpin's back-to-back three's in the fourth with one of her own to complete a crucial 9-0 Weber run. Reichle hit three 3-pointers in all and finished with a game-high 13 points.
The victory advances Weber to the second round where they'll face Bingham.