The first round of the girls 2A basketball tournament typically includes a handful of one-sided victories. However, when the elimination round takes place this Friday at Orem High School, Beaver coach Jonathan Marshall says he anticipates some close battles.
"Richfield has been the team to beat all year," he said, "but other than that, there will be a lot of competitive games."
Marshall and his defending champion team, which is currently ranked second in 2A, will take on Waterford for the first time this season in the 10:30 a.m. game. The Ravens (10-9, 3-7) edged into the tournament with two crucial late-season victories.
"We have been looking at film and we know they play hard," Marshall said. "We are going to have to play our best basketball if we want to move on."
The eight teams that do get past the first round advance to the next phase in the tournament, which is held at Southern Utah University in Cedar City next Thursday-Saturday. Marshall is leaning on his four experienced starters to get his team to that point.
First team all-state selection Hattie Snyder and forward Macail Wood lead the team in scoring with 12.86 and 9.95 points per game, respectively. Marshall called the twin towers, "two of the top players in the classification."
Dishing the ball to those forward is guards Brielle Christensen and Rachel Roberts, both seniors who "do not have a lot of points, but do a great job on defense and keep the entire team settled and focused."
Richfield, the top-seeded team out of Region 15, holds the top ranking in 2A and is No. 10 in the statewide rankings. The Wildcats were undefeated through region play and have lost just twice all season: once each to 3A's Canyon View (36-35) and Desert Hills (49-39). They will face Manti (9-11, 5-5) in the 6:30 p.m. game on Friday.
"Richfield has always been the team to beat," Marshall reiterated, "but the teams in our region, Enterprise, Kanab, Parowan, I think those teams will do well, too. I expect those games to be competitive and exciting."
Enterprise (14-7, 6-2) will meet Summit Academy (10-10, 6-4) in the final game of the night at 8 p.m.; Kanab (10-9, 4-4) will play South Summit (9-9, 7-3) at 3:30 p.m.; and Parowan (12-8, 3-5) will play North Summit (16-5, 10-0), the top seed out of Region 14, at Noon.
Emery (11-7, 6-2) will lead off the day against North Sevier (11-9, 7-3) at 9 a.m.; American Leadership (13-8, 8-2) will see South Sevier (9-11, 4-4) at 1:30 p.m.; and the top seed from Region 16, Gunnison (11-10, 8-2) will play San Juan (8-11, 2-6) at 5 p.m.
"We have to approach this game like the championship game," Marshall said. "If we don't win now, next week doesn't matter."
Class 2A Girls
Friday's first round
At Orem High School
North Sevier (11-9) vs. Emery (10-7), 9 a.m.
Waterford (10-9) vs. Beaver (18-4), 10:30 a.m.
Parowan (12-8) vs. North Summit (16-5), Noon
S. Sevier (9-11) vs. Am. Leadership (13-8), 1:30 p.m.
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Kanab (10-9) vs. South Summit (9-9), 3:30 p.m.
San Juan (8-10) vs. Gunnison (11-10) 5 p.m.
Manti (9-11) vs. Richfield (18-2), 6:30 p.m.
Summit Acad. (10-10) vs. Enterprise (14-7), 8 p.m.